Standing with Dreamers
Several Toreros attend off-campus protest in support of the Clean Dream Act
Lilyana Espinoza | News Editor | The USD Vista
As time draws near for a decision to be made on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act, some University of San Diego students are making their voices heard and showing their support for the passing of a Clean Dream Act.
Recipients of the DACA program are referred to as ‘Dreamers.” The addition of the term “clean” describes the desire for a clear way to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who benefit from DACA.
Last Thursday, USD students joined other local San Diego college and high school students on the campus of California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM) to hold a protest in hopes of rallying support for passing the Clean Dream Act.
In 2012, Obama passed DACA which President Trump has since halted. It is now in the hands of Congress to pass or deny the action by March.
Sophomore Maya Ramirez recognized that the support for DACA students on campus is low because some students find it hard to empathize with those students dealing with issues of immigration.
“We are very comfortable here,” Ramirez said. “We are known as the ‘castle on the hill’ and we don’t even engage that much with the Linda Vista community. I think that along with that comfort comes fear within our minority community.”
Ramirez was overjoyed with the turnout at the CSUSM protest and the people who came to support the cause.
“They had made about 50 shirts and ran out of shirts,” Ramirez said. “At one point the mass was so big there was almost 100 people.”
Ramirez believes that fear plays a factor in student involvement regarding the DACA issue.
“I think a lot of people have been afraid for a long time that they will get backlash because they want to speak out or they think it doesn’t pertain to them,” Ramirez said.
Sophomore Krystal Alvarez, a board member of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), attended a meeting regarding DACA students because one of her friends invited her to go. The meeting had a goal of uniting the schools in different areas in San Diego county to speak out on behalf of the cause.
“I have a close friend at San Diego State who is involved with Education Without Borders and she wanted to plan a meeting that was surrounding DACA students and what their needs were and how the San Diego campuses could better serve their needs,” Alvarez said. “It was there where we met an [American Civil Liberties Union] ACLU representative and she brought [the matter] to our attention and we were down to hop in the movement.”
Alvarez is striving for MEChA to make a bigger impact at USD.
“We felt that there wasn’t enough happening on campus and part of our goal in MEChA this year was to be more active in the community and be a bigger presence,” Alvarez said.
Both Alvarez and Ramirez, along with 11 other USD students, attended the protest at CSUSM as well as a small silent protest at USD during dead hours on the same day.
Alvarez thinks that getting students more involved in the movement on campus will help bring more awareness to the issue.
“We are aware that there is a task force on campus that mostly consists of faculty, and I am planning to meet with them,” Alvarez said. “We really just started this out of our own volition and we hadn’t contacted anyone on the task force. Hopefully involving students in the action of what is going on, we feel, is really central and important.”
Alvarez finds that sticking up for DACA students is important because they are currently struggling with uncertainty.
“It is really hard to focus on your studies if you are worried about literally getting kicked out of the country or afraid that your parents and sibling might not be home when you get back,” Alvarez said.
The end of the six month period for Congress’ decision on DACA will be in March. There is little time left and some point out that students intend to make their voices heard before that time comes.
As of now there is no set date for another protest, but Alvarez and Ramirez are meeting with the other San Diego campuses to coordinate more examples of support for DACA students.