October 10, 2018 – Community colleges in San Diego and Imperial counties are embarking on an ‘Undocumented Students Week of Action’ starting October 15 to express support for Dreamers and urge Congress to create a pathway to citizenship.
“DACA recipients are some of our hardest working and brightest students, and it is our duty to advocate on their behalf,” said San Diego Mesa College President Pamela Luster, president of the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA). “Clearly, these deserving students who came to the U.S. as children, who have not been convicted of any crimes and who are earnestly seeking an education to improve their lives, are tremendous assets to our community. Congress and the President need to act now to support these students so that they no longer live in fear.”
California is home to more than 220,000 residents currently protected through the DACA program.
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors declared Oct. 15-19 Undocumented Students Week of Action when it met September 17 just a few miles from the U.S.-Mexico border at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. The Week of Action is a statewide, student-led advocacy campaign that includes providing support and community resources to undocumented students.
“Our goal is to start a healthy conversation about undocumented students and raise awareness about our stories,” said Miguel Mellado, 23, a Southwestern College DACA student who is president of the campus’s IDEAS Club, an acronym for Improving Dreams, Equity, Access & Success. “People have this notion about undocumented students feeding off the system, but then they look at me and see someone who is doing great in school, taking 16 units, working part time, paying my taxes, helping my family, and volunteering at Southwestern College. We are looking to make something of ourselves and be pillars of the community.”
Mellado, who has a double major in computer science and liberal arts, was brought to the U.S. when he was 8 and is on track to graduate in the spring.
Among the dozens of events aimed at raising awareness in San Diego and Imperial counties:
· Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
o Cuyamaca College is holding a Share the Dream training session facilitated by Veronica Corral on Tuesday, October 16, and a Journey of A Dreamer workshop Wednesday, October 17. Both events, among several scheduled at Cuyamaca College, are scheduled for noon in Room I-207 and I-208 of the Student Center. Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway, Rancho San Diego, 92019.
o Grossmont College is getting a head start on Undocumented Students Week of Action with a presentation of Undocujoy: Shifting the Perspective in Undocumented Representation by nationally acclaimed poet Yosimar Reyes on Thursday, October 11, at Griffin Gate. In addition, Via Rapida, in conjunction with the International Rescue Committee of San Diego, earlier in October hosted a closed workshop and information session for DACA recipients. Grossmont College is at 8800 Grossmont College Drive, El Cajon, 92020.
· Imperial Valley College
o Students at Imperial Valley College on Monday, October 15, will be encouraged to wear their favorite t-shirt, button, or sticker showing their support for undocumented students (hashtags for photos are #UndocumentedStudentActionWeek and #CCCforDACA), and a voter registration drive will be held the following day in the College Center. In addition, there will be a screening of the documentary “AmericanDREAMers” on Oct. 17, and students will participate in Exploring Undocumented Narrative Through Art with paintings on canvas on October 18. Imperial Valley College is at 380 Aten Road, Imperial, 92251.
· MiraCosta College
o Undocumented students can learn more about options for education funding at a Paying for College workshop on Monday, October 15, at 11 a.m. in Aztlan at the Oceanside Campus, 1 Barnard Drive, 92056
o MiraCosta College is staging a Know Your Rights Workshop on Tuesday, October 16, at 11 a.m. in the Social Justice and Equity Center in Room 3205 at the Oceanside Campus.
o Demystifying the Undocumented Experience, a presentation and panel discussion about recognizing the fears, hopes, and concerns of the undocumented community, is set scheduled for noon in Room 3205 at the Oceanside Campus.
· Palomar College
o Palomar College students will have the unique opportunity to learn how to express support for undocumented students and advocate for change through art from influential Los Angeles street artist Man One (Alejandro Poli) in a session titled How to Advocate with Art that is set for Monday, October 15, at 10 a.m. in the Student Union quad on the San Marcos campus.
o In addition, Palomar College is hosting a Know Your Rights training session and resource fair on Thursday, October 18, at 6 p.m. in MD-157 at the San Marcos campus. The workshop will be led, in part, by the Rapid Response Network, a coalition dedicated to aiding immigrants and their families. Palomar College is at 1140 W. Mission Road, San Marcos, 92069.
· San Diego Community College District.
o San Diego City College is holding UndocuStories, an undocumented student panel, on Monday, October 15, at 11 a.m., and a Know Your Rights Immigration Workshop on Thursday, October 18, at 12:45 p.m. Both are in room 462 of the Mathematics and Social Sciences Building (MS-462). City College is at 1313 Park Blvd. 92101, but the MS building is at C and 15th Streets.
o San Diego Mesa College, which has scheduled an all-day Undocumented Student Conference on Thursday, October 11, beginning at 9 a.m., is offering a presentation by the Rapid Response Network on Thursday, October 18, at noon. In addition, attorney Amie Scully will offer a Know Your Rights information session, along with updates on DACA-related policy changes, on Friday, October 19, at noon. All three, and more, are in MC-211. Mesa College is at 7250 Mesa College Drive, San Diego, 92111
o San Diego Miramar College is holding a four-day postcard-writing campaign aimed at lobbying legislators to codify DACA. Students, faculty, and staff can take part in the campaign on Monday, October 15 through Thursday, October 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the K-1 building. On Wednesday, October 17 resources for transferring to a four-year institution will be available for undocumented students at the college’s annual Transfer Fair at Compass Point from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
o San Diego Continuing Education, which is holding an array of ALL Welcome Week events at its campuses, has scheduled a Supporting Undocumented Students to Success Beyond the Classroom session on Thursday, October 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Educational Cultural Complex, 4343 Ocean View Blvd., San Diego, 92113. Juanita Ledesma, Acting Dean of Career & College Transition, will detail how students can make informed decisions on career and educational programs.
· Southwestern College
o The Southwestern College District’s Board of Governors on October 9 adopted a resolution declaring its steadfast support of DACA recipients and other undocumented students in the California Community Colleges system.
o Southwestern College and its Associated Student Organization are leading a campus wide initiative on Tuesday, October 16, encouraging students to fill out postcards urging their elected officials to take action in protecting DACA students and codifying DACA into federal law. In addition, Southwestern College officials have scheduled meetings with Representatives Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, and Susan Davis during which undocumented students will tell their stories and lobby for congressional action.
Undocumented Students Week of Action comes one year after 2017 DACA Advocacy Week, which resulted in local meetings with legislative leaders, hundreds of letters and postcards sent from students to members of Congress, and numerous community colleges conducting week-long activities to raise awareness of support services for undocumented students. DACA Advocacy Week followed the Trump Administration’s September 5, 2017, decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a decision that has generated multiple lawsuits making their way through the courts.
Studies have shown eliminating the DACA program could have profound negative impacts on the economy. The CATO Institute, a Libertarian think tank, found the U.S. economy could shrink by $215 billion over 10 years without DACA, and the federal government would lose $60 billion over that period via lost income tax revenue.
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association is a collaboration between the six community college districts in the two-county area. SDICCCA comprises the community colleges in the two-county region that together serve more than 230,000 students. SDICCCA collaborates closely with San Diego State University, UC San Diego, Cal State San Marcos, the San Diego Workforce Partnership and other regional partners in developing and maintaining effective programs that ensure student success, serve the community, and train workers with up-to-date job skills.