The stress and daily struggle of college can become over- whelming, and for some the struggle begins before they step foot into the classroom. Programs such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, give undocumented immigrants the capability to even step into a classroom.
DACA is an immigration policy that allows undocumented immigrants who enter the United States under the age of 16 and before June 2007 to receive a two-year work permit and exemption from deportation.
This policy allows students such as Jared Ramiro to enroll in college.
“I was born in Mexico, my parents found jobs here, we have a house and my sister and I went to school,” Ramiro said. “I didn’t have any problems until I tried to go to college.”
Ramiro attempted to enroll in college but couldn’t complete the application process because he did not have a Social Security number.
“I almost decided not to go,” Ramiro said.
After doing research Ramiro found DACA. DACA supplied him with a Social Security number and a work permit.
“Because of my Social Security number and work permit, I’m not afraid to go out and not be deported,” Ramiro said. “I am the first one in my family to graduate high school and have a college degree.”
Ramiro, during the “Where Did We Come From” presentation on April 20, stressed the need for people who are capable to go out and vote to ensure policies to help undocumented immigrants are implicated.
“There is something you can do that I can’t,” Ramiro said. “You can vote, so please go out and vote for those who can’t.”
DACA has several strict criteria to qualify. Age, time of immigration and education status are all requirements for the policy.
Olivia Lopez, social science professor, strongly supports DACA and undocumented members of the community.
“These Americans strengthen communities,” Lopez said. “They take money they make and spend it at businesses, buy homes and goods and services, not just them but for all of us. We are all invested in the success of this group.”
Jared Ramiro speaks to a full room during the “Where Did We Come From” presentation about his life as an undocumented immigrant attending college.
According to Lopez, DACA gives people the safety to come out of the shadows and allows for personal growth.
“It is a scary process to say, ‘I am undocumented and unafraid,’” Lopez said. “It takes a safe place and trustworthy people.”
For more information about DACA and the requirement visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website at www.uscis.gov. There are also local services such as the Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi Inc. that can provide more information.