Sam Houston’s chapter of LULAC hosted a DACA (or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) informational meeting on Sept. 28 to educate those who are affected by DACA and also dispel any misinformation that students may have had. Different speakers discussed resources those affected could utilize and how to reach and learn about your representatives.
Dean Abbey Zink of CHSS opened the meeting by describing the event and how it was not a space for debate but for information, and as educators, it is their responsibility to make sure people know what is out there and how to find it. She then gave the floor to Miranda Estrada, president of SHSU LULAC who further discussed DACA and what that means.
DACA is a policy created by executive action, created by the Obama administration in 2012 that gave two year permits to immigrants that came to the United States as children, to work and study in the United States. This policy was rescinded by the Trump administration on Sept. 5 of this year.
Estrada gave important statistics about DACA that disproved many people’s conceptions about who is covered by DACA and who can be approved. All DACA recipients have no criminal record at the time of issuance, you are not able to apply for DACA if you do, and 91 percent of DACA recipients are employed.
Estrada also explained that it is not a path to citizenship, and does not apply to any immigrant who came to the U.S illegally. It is specifically for immigrants who came to the U.S before they turned 16, and were under the age of the 31 when the policy was created. Recipients must gave lived in the U.S. since 2007, and were currently present in the U.S. at the time of application. They also must have been in school, graduated high school or obtained a GED, or been honorably discharged from the military.
After Estrada gave her presentation, Glenn Sanford, the Associate Dean of CHSS, gave another. He reiterated basic facts about DACA, but spent more time dealing with the legal logistics of what had happened, why it could happen, and what those affected could do now that they were tasked with reapplying with the very solid time restraint.
“Any law by executive action means there’s no permanence. It only lasts until the next president comes along and decides to change it,” Sanford said.
Sanford also explained that while there was some uncertainty as to what the President and his administration were going to do about DACA, he expressed that those involved and others be adaptable to the situation. As for right now, the best thing to do is to focus on the renewal deadline of Oct. 5.
The process and cost of filing is difficult and expensive; however, Sanford gave several different resources of where to go for help in filing and other legal assistance.
Student and Legal Mediation Services, SHSU’s Counseling Center, Houston Immigrants Right Hotline and the Texas Bar Association, among others are all dedicated to assisting in the situation.
Sanford also directly showed the audience how to find out who your representatives are, how you can find their pages, contact them, and learn more about who they are.
The last speaker was Professor of Psychology, Craig Henderson. He discussed the importance of mental health. He gave recommendations to maintain a healthy mindset during a very difficult situation, such as practicing self-care, talking to someone about it, whether that person is friendly or professional does not matter. The important thing is the actual discussion.
Another suggestion was setting up a regular routine, and taking care of your body. Exercising and avoiding drugs and alcohol would help those affected and help them avoid looking to ‘numb’ themselves, instead of dealing with it.
Henderson also made sure to let the audience know of resources they could go to, such as the Counseling Center and Psychological Services, where you can receive free counseling sessions. Henderson also stressed that even if those who needed more help or could not be helped by the offices, they would assist in finding someone who could.
Dean Abbey Zink closed the event by thanking those in attendance and those who presented. Zink described the role of educating and the campus’ dedication to making sure that their students were taken care.
She also pleaded that no matter what, students should stay in school.
“We may not know the answers, but we can pick up the phone and find them,” Zink said.
She then thanked the organizations that were there, such as LULAC, their sponsor and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for making events such as these possible.