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DACAmented students await six months for Congress solution

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Photo Illustration / Todd Kleiboer

Photo Illustration / Todd Kleiboer

Photo Illustration / Todd Kleiboer

Daniel Yanez, News Editor

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Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions, announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last week. The announcement came after a weekend newsbreak from various national news sources suggesting that President Donald Trump would rescind former President Barack Obama’s executive order.

The program, which was enacted in 2012 through executive order has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the United States without proper documentation as children to remain in the country. Eligible recipients were able to live and work legally in the U.S. for renewable two-year periods. As of Sept. 13, Trump and Democratic leaders have closely negotiated legislation protecting DACA recipients but no final agreement has been released.

Although ending the Obama administration program directly affects approximately 800,000 DACA recipients, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Flavia Belpoliti, said Trump’s decision would have a wider impact across the nation. Belpoliti said the news was not a surprise move from the president but said his decision was shocking.

Associate Professor of Spanish, Inmaculada Cívico Lyons, said she was saddened by the news. She said the end of the program will bring about consequences that will affect a large number of people.

“I think it’s sad because it’s a mistake. It seems to me like the administration did not really think through the short term and long term consequences of eliminating the executive order that President Obama put in place,” said Lyons. “The number of people that will be affected by this will be enormous, they will be affected in a very negative way.”

Lyons said the university would be impacted directly as it houses international students who are protected by the executive order. Belpoliti also said rounds of contradictory information is causing levels of uncertainty among individuals being affected. Belpoliti said many don’t know what their life is going to be like.

“I was not really surprised, it’s part of his overall political campaign and his position for a long time,” said Belpoliti. “My first thoughts were for my students. We have a lot of students in our Spanish programs, both undergraduate and graduate students who are DACA recipients.”

Cesar Quezada, a psychology and criminal justice major, said he felt a mixture of emotions including anger and disappointment. Quezada, a DACA recipient, said he fears what the next six months hold in store.

“I’m in jeopardy of not getting my work permit and visa renewed. By not having these papers renewed I am unable to obtain work or any type of financial aid to help pay for school,” said Quezada. “There is still some hope that Congress will bring a resolution. All I’m asking for and hoping for is for the resolution to have a way to provide for our families and obtain the education we cannot obtain in the countries we were born in.”

While the situation may seem dire for some, Fred Fuentes, assistant dean of Enrollment Management for Hispanic Outreach and Retention, said he is hopeful President Trump is continuing an effort to protect students beyond memorandum through solidified federal law.

“I am reassured that their progress as students, upstanding citizens, and members of each of our communities will provide them with all of the privileges and rights associated with being proud Americans,” said Fuentes. “My hope is that the impact results in further educating each other and empowering each other. I am also hopeful that so many of my colleagues, a diverse group of staff, faculty and community members have all reached out in support.”

Fuentes said students at A&M-Commerce are well informed community members from diverse backgrounds. He said some of them self-identify as the students being directly impacted by these political decisions. Fuentes also said the Latino American Mentorship Program, the Student Organization of Latinos (SOL) and the Hispanic Student Association (HSA) are a few of TAMUC’s organizations working together to keep each other informed.

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DACAmented students await six months for Congress solution