A former Del Mar College student says the institution, which promotes chasing dreams, has put her dreams on hold.
Delia Susana, 24, is benefited by DACA program. Susana came to the United States as a baby. She started studies at a Valley school then moved to Corpus Christi with her family after high school and entered Del Mar College. She remembers her first experience to Del Mar College as a dream come true.
Susana recalls that at that time many people helped her in the enrollment process and provided information to get financial aid and other services. In 2014, Susana suffered a serious accident that left her in a wheelchair. She required several surgeries to put nails in both legs and a long time in therapy to walk again. For this reason, she was forced to suspend the studies at DMC, something that would resume in 2017. She never imagined that everything would be so difficult and frustrating on her return.
Susana emotionally recalled that when she returned to enroll and finish her studies, she encountered many obstacles that had not previously.
“When I asked for help, the staff realized that I am a student DACA. They denied me the information or left me waiting for a long time. I was being discriminated against, I have permission to study until December 2018,” she said.
Susana said that among the obstacles were more excuses that could never be clarified, are the fees of enrollment as an international student.
“A lady told me, it was because I was born in Mexico and not the United States,” Susana said. “I have lived in Corpus Christi for over 18 years.”
For Susana and her family it wasn’t so much about the cost, but at feeling discriminated against and treated unfairly.
“I became so uncomfortable with the situation that I decided to apply for legal assistance to the Fundación Raíces,” Susana said.
The Foghorn News contacted the Raíces for legal information on the subject and access to the documents they have submitted regarding the topic.
“The case of Susana in general terms is illegal,” said Marcos GalAviz Luna, part of the team of the association Raíces. “The way it was treated is a direct form of discrimination. The excuses they put to hinder the registration process of Susana have no basis and less the process they carried.”
Based on this the Foghorn News sought an interview with Augustín Rivera Jr., general counsel for Del Mar College:
Q: What is the position of DMC to the students DACA who are currently studying in DMC?
Rivera: “Del Mar College stands ready to continue its mission of providing all of its students with the support and access essential to allow them to realize their dreams of a quality education, workforce preparation and lifelong learning. … This includes our students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. With an ‘open door’ admission policy, Del Mar College will continue to welcome all student learners who seek a comprehensive, accessible, quality education.”
The Foghorn has knowledge of DACA student cases that have experienced problems enrolling in DMC and say they were treated unfairly. Do you have knowledge of these cases and what actions have been taken?
“Under federal and other laws protecting the privacy of every Del Mar College student, the College cannot release any information regarding a speciﬁc student. However, the College has no documented complaints of ‘discriminatory treatment.’ In general, the College places the highest priority on providing every student with information and assistance in all aspects of the enrollment process, including registration and admissions.”
Can DACA students enter DMC and be treated equally in every way (social, academic, economic) or is there any difference for them?
“Del Mar College values the diversity and contributions of every one of its students and strives to treat every one of them equally with the same respect and dignity.”
Do you have any work plans to help DACA students or are you working with any institution? How does DMC contribute to this situation?
“Del Mar College is very much aware of the ever-changing situation in Washington and will continue to closely monitor all developments or changes. The College will provide information as it becomes available and encourages any student with questions or concern to contact Dr. Rito Silva, vice president for Student Services.”