Sept. 5, President Donald Trump announced that his administration would be removing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival — also known as DACA.
When the news was first released, applications for first-time applicants halted, and DACA recipients had until Oct. 5 to reapply. With all three University of Washington campuses being a hub of diversity, numerous UW students were and are affected by this policy change.
In June of 2012, the Obama administration established the program, which allowed some eligible individuals who entered the United States as minors to defer deportation for two years. DACA recipients — or “Dreamers” — were not only protected from being deported, but also granted a work permit. After two years, recipients were able to reapply for renewal; that is until this September, when the Trump administration revoked that possibility.
Arwa Dubad, ASUWT President, feels very passionately about this subject.
“I came here when I was 12, and I became a U.S. citizen in June of 2014 I believe,” Dubad said. “There are people who came when they were babies, like children, and for them, in my eyes, they are more of a U.S. citizen than I am.”
More than 800,000 young adults were able to see the American dream in close reach due to DACA.
“It really is sad … [and] it is devastating … for them to also be students just trying to get their education. For them to trust the system, and then for the system to [be revoked], I really don’t know what’s wrong.” Dubad said. “I wish I knew what was wrong with this country [and] I wish I knew what was wrong with the world.”
UW released numerous statements to students from President Cause, Chancellor Pagano and the UW Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. The university has also pulled together resources for students affected at all three campuses.
Mentha Haynes-Wilson, UW Tacoma Vice Chancellor for Student and Enrollment Services, said, “I am encouraged by the collegiality and authentic commitment to student success. Without hesitation, colleagues across the campus and within the community are willing to aid. We took some time initially to determine what resources exist within the greater Tacoma area and compile a list of resources. One important partner is the Tacoma Community House.”
UW will continue to provide financial aid to students affected. Also, they do not and will not allow immigration officials to walk into dormitories, residences or classrooms without a warrant.
A warrant is not an easy document to acquire. There are specific guidelines that must be met before a warrant can be issued. However, if one is obtained, officials have the authority to take an individual into custody — even if in a UW classroom or residence.
“It is complicated, for sure, and I recognize school may tumble from the list of priorities. The university will continue to monitor all rulings and decisions and until we hear otherwise, housing eligibility and financial aid support will not change,” Haynes-Wilson said. “Limited emergency assistance is available on a case by case basis through the Student Engagement office.”
With the deadline to renew DACA having been last week, we expect more information to be released on this as we go. UW is committed to support students on a large scale, and personally as well.
“Different offices, faculty and staff have reached out to students and/or responded to telephone calls and messages. Student to student conversations are occurring too. For example, the First Generation Fellows are actively engaged in sharing information and referring students to resources,” Haynes-Wilson said.
At a time of such confusion and hardship, all we can do is be there for one another.
“I wish we were kinder to each other,” Dubad said. “These students, these people [that] are on DACA … they are as much of an American as the U.S. born American is … they have every right to feel safe here.”