This week marks the sixth annual Undocumented Student Action Week with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the Community College League of California and other partners. This week-long event aims to advance best practices for supporting undocumented student success, promote ways to collaborate across sectors, and advocate for budget and legislative action in support of the long-term success of undocumented students.
This year’s Undocumented Student Action Week follows on the heels of the decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA, is unlawful.
California Community Colleges Interim Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, PhD., University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., and California State University Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester, PhD. released the following joint statement after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision upholding the State of Texas, et al., v. United States (2021) ruling.
“We are deeply troubled by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision, which holds that the DACA program violates federal law. We support the decision to allow current DACA recipients to avoid immediate disruption to their lives and also to seek extensions of their DACA status. Even as we hope that this decision is overturned, the uncertainty it creates is untenable. DACA recipients deserve to have their status as equal Americans protected from court decisions like this one.
“We remain fully committed to working with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta and our students, faculty, and staff to advocate for permanent pathways to citizenship so undocumented Californians can pursue their academic and professional goals without fear of deportation.
“Since its implementation 10 years ago, DACA has protected thousands of undocumented students in California and hundreds of thousands across the United States from deportation as they pursue their college degrees. Today, recipients are first responders, medical professionals, educators, scientists, and serve in a host of other critical professions. They have made and continue to make positive contributions to our local, state, and federal economies and communities.
“We stand by our students, faculty, and staff. They are vital and valued members of our campus communities. Our systems are dedicated to the continued success of all our undocumented students, many of whom do not participate in DACA.
“Undocumented and DACA students can enroll and stay enrolled in California’s public colleges and universities. The decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals does not change our mission to welcome and serve all students. This is what we have always done, and we will not waver. We will continue to do all we can to ensure our undocumented students feel safe and supported on our campuses.”
Dr. Daren Otten, Superintendent/President of Copper Mountain College noted, “Copper Mountain College is proudly one of the 116 colleges that make up the California Community College system. Collectively, we are the largest system of public higher education in the country and exist to support all students regardless of an individual’s immigration status. Core to the mission of the system, we exist for all students to pursue their career and professional goals free of institutional barriers and discrimination, provide access and support to reach their educational goals, and ultimately contribute to the improvement of our community and our economy.”
Copper Mountain College’s Dreamer Liaison, Alicia Mendez, is hosting a “Taco About Undocu-Ally Day,” in Student Services on Thursday, October 20, from noon until 2 p.m., with information sessions at noon and 1 p.m. on how to support undocumented students.
“In this role I work to increase campus awareness of resources and support offered for undocumented students and connect these students to financial aid, social services, state-funded immigration legal services, internships, externships, and academic opportunities as needed,” Mendez said.
Information for California Dream Act, which allows undocumented students, DACA recipients (valid or expired), U Visa holders and students under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), who qualify for a non-resident exemption under Assembly Bill 540, Senate Bill 2000, and Senate Bill 68, to receive certain types of financial aid, can be found on the Copper Mountain College website’s Financial Aid paid at www.cmccd.edu/admissions/financial-aid.