Tag Archives: dreamers

LA Dreamers

Since the Trump Administration entered the White House, the federal government has promised to deport undocumented immigrants from the U.S., sending them back to their birth country. This situation has left many Dreamers afraid of the very real threat of deportation for themselves or their loved ones, despite the reassurance that a sanctuary city, like Los Angeles, has to offer.

“A Dreamer would be somebody who would be eligible for the DACA program, which is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” said Adan Garcia, a representative from Santa Rosa Immigration Services.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is essentially an immigration benefit program that provides work permits to qualified immigrants.

“The DACA program gives you a work permit if you meet the requirements for it,” Garcia said, “and the requirements are that you have entered the country before your 15th birthday, [and] that you have also entered the country on or before June 2007….[they also] take criminal record into account.”

The program applies only to young people under these very specific circumstances, and ignores many other undocumented family members who are living and working  and going to school in the U.S.

The Dream Center at CSUN, located inside the University Student Union, is a major resource for undocumented students, including the many people who don’t meet the DACA requirements.

One of the most common issues that the Dream Center deals with are “families that have young kids, especially that are born in the U.S.,” said Jesus, a representative from the CSUN Dream Center, who didn’t want his last name to be used.”The fear of [the parents] being deported, and no one being able to take care of their kids, we’ve had a lot of that.”

Many undocumented immigrants who live in LA, and are not protected by DACA, feel fortunate to live in a sanctuary city. Although there is no legal definition, a sanctuary city is considered “essentially whether a city is willing to cooperate with the federal government when it comes to immigration,” Garcia said. But despite the fact that undocumented immigrants with a clean criminal record are generally protected in sanctuary cities, many of them are still living in fear and paranoia.

“Many people fear their immigration status,” said Lady Pineda, a translator at Hermanda Mexicana Transnacional. “They think that any other day ICE might come to their door, knock, and you know, separate their families.”

“I don’t think anybody should be afraid,” Garcia said, “maybe a little cautious, but it doesn’t seem that the deportation rate has gone up.”

But many Californians say they believe that deportation is something that no active member of a society should have to fear.

“The Dreamers are not criminals,” CSUN student and Dreamer Ivan Salinas said. “We are just trying to fit in. We are trying to be Americans.”

Moderator: Abril Preciado

Producer: Yesenia Burgara

Anchor: Amber Partida

Social Media Editors: Malcolm Finney and Julie Nesbitt

Reporters: Shelby Charlene, Yesenia Burgara, Malcolm Finney, Julie Nesbitt, Amber Partida, Curtis Poindexter and Abril Preciado

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Breaking Barriers: The Undocumented Experience

Undocumented immigrants have long caused controversy in this country, but now not only do they face the struggle to assimilate, they must also face the fear of being deported under the Trump administration. 

“[His policy] is going to affect families in big ways, especially undocumented minors who could potentially have a parent who is deported, or if there are mixed status families, such as the child was born here in the U.S., and the parents were not,” CSUN Chicano/Chicana Studies professor Melissa Galvan said. “This could break up families in very important, intangible ways, and it’s quite sad.” 

The United States-Mexico border remains the most active border checkpoint in the world. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Obama administration deported 2.5 million people, the most in U.S. history. President Trump has proposed deporting all undocumented immigrants in this country, an estimated 11 million people. There were over 75,000 arrests of family units at the Southwest border last year. Immigrants who have been separated from family members by the border often don’t have much interaction with their loved ones. Friendship Park, on the border between San Diego and Tijuana, allows people to interact, but with limited time and touch. The Tijuana side of the park is open all day, but the San Diego side is open only on Saturday and Sunday from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.

Among those stopped at the border last year were 60,000 unaccompanied minors. Undocumented unaccompanied minors are children who travel to this country without parents or legal guardians. These minors come not only from Mexico, but also from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They are fleeing from gang recruitment, violence, poverty and prostitution. If they do make it into the U-S, they face problems of assimilation like any immigrant, and most have language barriers that leave them vulnerable. They are fearful due to their disadvantages and their uncertainty about the future. Their fear can keep them from getting legal help. One resource for them in Los Angeles is Casa Libre.

“We provide any source you can imagine,” Casa Libre director Federico Bustamante said. “Not [always] directly, but we have referral sources and partnerships in place to provide any service that you want. It is residential, mental health, legal services, anything you can possibly imagine, but what we really provide, and what really has the most individual impact on these young men, is a surrogate family. These kids have come from some cases of extreme abandonment, abuse, neglect, no consistency in their lives. The root problem is that lack of consistency and unconditional support. Casa Libre becomes that.  Through everything we do, whether providing legal services or educational services, we are providing a surrogate family.”

Casa Libre provides housing and services for children and families who are homeless. This may include storing belongings until a new home is found. Casa Libre also provides life skills that can be used anywhere.  The children are taught how to cook, do laundry, and prepare for careers.  

“Ultimately [we] really allow these kids to become kids again,” Bustamante said. “They are coming from undeclared war zones, wearing little suits of armor. When they get here and become part of the surrogate family, they are able to enjoy that last part of childhood, and benefit from all of the other services that we have at our disposal.” 

Some undocumented immigrants and unaccompanied minors have been able to get permission to stay in this country to study under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But its future is also uncertain under the Trump administration.

“One of the biggest things that I have noticed that is a concern, is having to graduate and not have certainty in what the future is going to hold for us, and for myself,” CSUN student Maria Aispuro said. “I am a DACA recipient, and I don’t know if that will be taken away, and I’m not sure if I will have a job, and my family is at risk of deportation.”

Bustamante says, across the country, there isn’t enough support to help all the children who need it.

“I hope there will be more allies of undocumented immigrants in the future,” Public Counsel social worker Jose Ortiz said. “People come here for a reason. They don’t come here because they want to be here. They need something that we have.”

Moderator: Jose Duran

Producer: Luzita Pineda

Anchor: Lexi Wilson

Social Media Editors: Adam Hajost and Arianna Takis

Reporters: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda, Rosa Rodriguez, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

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