By Eviana Vergara
While the final verdict for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients is still up in the air, students like Jorge Jeronimo continue to make an impact in the community and raise awareness for their undocumented peers.
Jeronimo, a fifth-year applied mathematics major, is one of hundreds of students at Cal Poly Pomona who falls under DACA.
This policy was first established during President Barack Obama’s administration through an executive order.
As the co-chair of Demanda Estudiantil Para La Igualidad Educacional (D.E.P.I.E.), a club that provides support and advocacy for undocumented issues, Jeronimo marched along university grounds with other members of the club in collaboration with members of Student for Quality Education.
While many are not familiar with these policies, it heavily impacts the lives of students on campus.
Students held signs that read “support the dreams of all students,” while some wore T-shirts that read “undocumented and unafraid” to show their support.
Over two-dozen participants, both students and faculty, joined the rally on Thursday, Oct 5. This was also the last day for people to renew their status.
Jeronimo, the youngest of five siblings, arrived in the United States at 4 years old from Michoacen, Mexico.
Since then, he’s grown up in Orange County with his family that is of mixed status. Some are also undocumented, while other members are U.S. citizens.
He became a DACA recipient in early 2016.
By being under this policy, it allows him to have a work permit, keep from being deported and attend CPP.
They are simple rights that many take for granted.
“It encourages me to keep on studying because I know there is hope. Right now, we’re in limbo,” said Jeronimo.
DACA is still undergoing some construction, so recipients are unsure about what will happen next.
Many bills have been proposed but none have been passed just yet.
President Donald Trump released a tweet on Sept. 5 stating, “Congress now has six months to legalize DACA (something the Obama administration was unable to do).”
However, the 23-year old’s status expires on April 27, which falls right after the March 5 deadline.
Applying for DACA is far from a walk in the park.
According to the American Immigration Center, applicants must meet certain requirements to be eligible and must pay a fee of $495.
Some of these restrictions include having arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and not having been convicted of any felonies.
The recipient must have also been residing in the U.S. since June 15, 2017.
Not only is this senior involved in the community as the co-chair of his club, but he also works as the Lead Program Assistant at the Bronco Dreamers Resource Center.
Jeronimo works at the BRDC in addition to an off-campus job to help pay for his school and personal expenses.
“Some people don’t understand what it means to be undocumented,” said Jeronimo. “We’re just out here trying to make a living.”
With all the hard work Jeronimo puts in each day, none of his actions go unnoticed by faculty or students.
Mike Pedro, the coordinator of the BDRC, recalled his first experience with Jeronimo.
“It’s been a joy to see him this year transition to have the mantle of one of the more visible leaders on campus,” said Pedro.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of the work he does for the community.”
Thanks to generous members of the community, the center has raised close to $10,000 for their DACA emergency fund to support DACA renewals for those students who statuses will expire before March 5 of next year. Jeronimo is ready to graduate from CPP next spring and is working towards becoming a teacher, someday a principal.
Working in low-income communities with youth children of color is his primary focus for pursuing a math degree. He knows what it’s like to be in their shoes and wants them to succeed as well.
This Orange County native understands the emotional stress that falls on him as a student with already having to worry about his schoolwork but also knowing that there are thousands of people who think he shouldn’t be here.
Although the future might seem bleak at times, this DREAMer has no in- tentions of giving up.
“DACA doesn’t define us. Our fight continues,” said Jeronimo.
Eviana Vergara / The Poly Post
CPP students designed posters for a recent protest
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