By Zara Hurtado
Following President Trump’s Sept. 5 decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, Cal Poly Pomona’s Bronco Dreamers Resource Center sprang into action by establishing a DACA emergency renewal fund.
The center set up the fund on Sept.12 in an effort to provide immediate support for undocumented students on campus.
A partnership between Rezonate Media and InterTrend Communications, the emergency fund will offer students direct financial support to cover the cost of applying for or renewing their DACA application.
Fifth-year applied mathematics student Jorge Jeronimo is heavily involved with the undocumented community at CPP. As co-chair of D.E.P.I.E., Jeronimo hears the concerns of his undocumented peers who are concerned with their future, following the administration’s recent announcement.
Jeronimo is well aware of the financial hurdles that come with DACA, having dealt with it himself.
“[The emergency renewal fund] is a great resource because not having the money to pay for DACA can be the greatest barrier,” said Jeronimo. “This fund is positive for students who could be in my shoes. The center is offering that money for them, so they can get two years of actual protection and be able to work.”
Fortunately, DACA will not affect the California Dream Act, a student’s AB 540 status or financial aid. However, it will affect an undocumented student’s ability to work.
With a deadline of Oct. 5, there is immense pressure on students to come up with the money to pay for renewal fees or to obtain legal advice as soon as possible.
Mike Manalo Pedro, coordinator of the Bronco Dreamers Resource Center, stresses the importance of providing immediate access to undocumented students who find themselves in this vulnerable limbo.
“Two pieces that are most challenging is getting that money and getting a pro-bono lawyer,” said Pedro. “It’s hard to raise those funds and pay out of pocket; it could cost thousands of dollars.”
Aside from providing financial support and access to free legal clinics, the center has become a haven for the undocumented community and plans to amplify their visibility on campus.
“The center being here is one way we’re addressing the need that the students have a place to breathe and empower one another,” said Pedro.
Having a center with coordinators and DREAMer allies enables students to thrive in safe spaces without the threat of deportation or harassment looming overhead.
It also draws attention to an often overlooked demographic of undocumented students who don’t have DACA or AB 540 status.
Un-DACAmented students, as Pedro dubs them, are very much a part of the conversation. They face similar hurdles, but they come to the center with experiences very much their own.
“There are a lot of different circumstances, so it’s important to recognize the diversity in the undocumented community,” said Pedro. “Every student that comes in has their own unique story, challenges and resiliency.”
As of now, the center’s emergency renewal fund has an end date of Oct. 5, the last day to renew or apply for DACA.
Until then, the fund will be the center’s main priority, but the center does have long-term action in mind. With the main priority being the success of their students’ education, long term campaigns and strategies include fundraising, scholarships, internships and new partnerships both on and off campus.
Although President Coley issued a statement confirming CPP’s support for the undocumented community, some are left wanting more tangible support from the university at large.
“I’d like to see [the university] have a backup plan. What if DACA is rescinded, what happens to students working on campus?” Jeronimo said.
“There should be an alternate way to get an income, through stipends or scholarships. The university should fight for that and show that they support undocumented students. Not just say it, but show it through action.”
Until a final decision is made regarding DACA’s future, the center will continue to prepare for any outcome and push for more on-campus allies.
Pedro encourages students interested in becoming an ally to attend a DREAMer ally training offered once a quarter or to stop by the center for a visit.
The Bronco Dreamers Resource Center will be hosting an open house Tuesday Oct. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for students interested in learning more about the DACA campaign, the center’s resources and how to become an ally.
Zara Hurtado / The Poly Post
The Bronco Dreamers Resource Center is located in the old stables
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