DACA: “We Are Not Neutral”

How CCNY Responded to Trump’s Rolling Back of the Obama Administration Statute and What You Need to Know

Previously Published in The Campus

We are a college, city, and nation of immigrants. The fabric of society is not independent from the separate cultures of its members, but deeply dependent on such.

On September 5th, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” He followed up, saying they had six months to do so. This, of course, led to a myriad of questions: What is he expecting Congress to do? What does this mean for individuals receiving DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)? Lastly, and perhaps more important, why?

To begin, Trump has taxed congress with coming up with an alternative to the Obama Administration reform. This “reform,” however, is incredibly vague and has seemingly no specific goals besides finding a “solution” to the “problem” that has been continuously created by Donald Trump.

Next, this means several things for students receiving DACA. The twiddling of a man’s thumbs has them questioning the security of nearly everything they have ever known. Contrary to the executive branch, the individuals who receive DACA contribute an exorbitant amount to the economy, not to mention the cultural and social aspects they nourish as well. According to The Center for American Progress, a public policy research and advocacy organization, “ending DACA would result in a loss of $460.3 billion from the national GDP over the next decade.”

Finally, the question of why. This is the most frustrating question of all. Why is it necessary to uproot entire lives? Why is it deemed progress to take a step back? Why is Donald Trump so pressed to deport individuals who know and call The United States their home?

We, as City College students and faculty, cannot answer all of these questions. Yet, what we can do is take a stance and create a course of action.

On Wednesday, September 6th, one day after the aforementioned tweet, Interim President Vince Boudreau addressed the CCNY students about the administration’s stance on what occurred, as well as how to move forward.

He began, “We have 6 months. Let’s not waste a single day merely bemoaning the stubborn and cruel decision to end DACA and throw the lives and families of nearly 800,000 Americans into chaos and insecurity. We have 6 months to develop a plan of action to defend our Dreamers, and that means we must get busy from day one.”

Boudreau outlined three “avenues of action”:

First, we speak out in protest.
Second, we must apply pressure.
Third, we must safeguard our Dreamers.

These routes will be elaborated upon thoroughly during “a series of meetings, some small, some large and public,” he pledged.

The first of these meeting took place on Tuesday, September 12th. Students, professors, and administration came together to not only feel the severity of this current historical moment, but to step into a plan dedicated to the safety of CCNY students.

Several individuals stood tall to present their heartfelt comments and ideas for the future, with one asserting that this is not only DACA recipients fight, but that it is ours as well. With that wholeheartedly acknowledged, here are the rights that DACA students and faculty still have, as well as some things that we, students and staff receiving DACA and those who are not, can do:

What You Should Know Right Now
Source: The American Immigration Lawyers Association

1. If You Do Not Have DACA or a DACA Application Pending. You cannot apply. The program has been terminated and new applications are no longer being accepted by USCIS.

2. If You Have DACA That Expires After March 5, 2018. If your DACA and work permit expire after March 5, 2018, you are not eligible for an extension and your DACA, work authorization, and protection from deportation will expire on the date shown on your DACA approval notice and work permit.

3. If You Have a DACA Application Pending. If you have a DACA application that was received at USCIS on or before September 5, 2017, your application will continue to be processed.

4. If You Have DACA and a Valid Advance Parole Travel Document. If you have DACA and have a currently valid advance parole document, you may still use the document to travel and return to the U.S. as long as you return BEFORE the document expires. However, even with a valid travel document, CBP can still refuse to let you in. Before you travel, speak to a qualified immigration lawyer.

5. If You Have an Advance Parole Travel Document Application Pending. USCIS will no longer process or approve applications for advance parole for DACA recipients. If you have an application for DACA-based advance parole pending as of September 5, 2017, USCIS will close the application and return the filing fees to you.

6. Your DACA Can Be Terminated at Any Time. Even with valid DACA and a valid work permit, the government can terminate your DACA and work permit at any time if it believes you are no longer eligible or for any other reason.

7. Do Not Talk to a Notario. Notarios are not lawyers and are not trained to fully understand the complex U.S. immigration system. Some notarios will take your money and give you bad advice. Protect yourself and your family by trusting a qualified immigration lawyer with your legal decisions.

What to do if ICE is at your door

1. Keep the door closed and ask if they are Immigration agents, or from ICE.

2. Opening the door does not give the agents permission to come inside, but it is safer to speak to ICE through the door.

3. If the agents don’t speak your language, ask for an interpreter.

4. If the agents want to enter, ask them if they have a warrant signed by a judge. If ICE agents do not have a warrant signed by a judge, you may refuse to open the door or let them in. An administrative warrant of removal from immigration authorities is not enough.

5. If they say they have a warrant, ask them to slip the warrant under the door. Look at the top and at the signature line to see if it was issued by a court and signed by a judge. Only a court/judge warrant is enough for entry into your premises, one issued by DHS or ICE and signed by a DHS or ICE employee is not.

Legal Resources at CCNY

Citizenship Now: City College
Immigration Center
North Academic Center, Rm. 1-206
New York, NY 10031
Tel. 212-650-6620

Other Opportunities

1. If an immigration officer is at CCNY or one of the nearby subway stations (125th, 137th, 145th), inform people you know may be in danger.

2. Attend the brainstorming meetings held by Interim President Boudreau and speak up about ways to create the safest space possible at CCNY.

3. Protest. New York City is full of protests and marches against inhumane immigration policies.

4. Stay updated on the news. Trump can change his mind with a tweet; CCNY need to be ready to adapt to this uncertainty for its students.

5. Be incredibly careful with who you give your, or someone else’s, information to. Right now confidentiality is crucial.

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