La Verne to protect immigrant students

Celene Vargas
Editorial Director
Christina Garcia
Copy Editor

In the wake of the presidential election results, the University has issued statements to reassure Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students about continuing their education.

On Nov. 21, President Devorah Lieberman sent out an email to the student body saying La Verne will keep its core values and current admissions policy by continuing to provide a safe learning environment for all students regardless of their immigration status.

“We will remain supportive, we will remain compliant with the current DACA laws, and we intend to advocate in any way we can for ensuring DACA students can complete their degrees at the University of La Verne,” Provost Jonathan Reed said in a recent interview.

The President’s email also said the school will continue its partnerships with the California Student Aid Commission and TheDream.US to provide DREAM scholarships, as well as continuing to participate in the California-Mexico Studies Center program, which allows students to return to the U.S. after the program is over.

“(TheDream.US Foundation) has put a statement out saying that they will continue to support these DACA students whether or not DACA exists in the future, because they don’t know what the president-elect will do,” said Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs.

Lieberman said the University of La Verne College of Law has a pro bono immigration clinic that can provide students with information and resources, which is led by Diane Uchimiya director of the justice and immigration clinic and professor of law.

“I am in the process of making changes to my clinic on immigration at the law school. The purpose of consultations is to determine whether or not there are other applications for statuses they can be eligible for,” Uchimiya said.

However, she said this is not a possibility for everyone due to individual circumstances.

“What I want to do is to recruit other attorneys to give know your rights presentations. After that we would like to follow up with Q and A sessions,” Uchimiya said.

Lieberman’s email also said International students can go to the International Student Services office if they have questions about their visas.

In addition to sending out the email, Lieberman has signed a letter to publicly endorse the DACA program and support undocumented students. The letter, started by Pomona College, has been signed by university and college presidents across the nation.

Aside from attending the immigration clinic, Reed said students who don’t know where to turn can approach the Provost office or anybody in student life. Loera is also encouraging students to approach the multicultural center.

“I think concerned students should arm themselves with the facts, know exactly what needs to happen in the immediate,” said Lawrence Potter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I think they should also trust (President Lieberman’s) statement and that the University is going to do everything in its power to make sure they are safe.”

Uchimiya said that there are still formalities to go through before an individual is deported.

“People still need to go to immigration court proceedings prior to being deported.” said Uchimiya. “In a removal proceeding, individuals are still protected by due process, but that does not protect from removal from the country.”

She said President-elect Donald Trump is able to terminate every executive order by the Obama administration and that DACA is one of them. She said DACA is not an immigration status, it just makes one not a priority to deport and allows people to apply for work authorization.

Uchimiya suggests La Verne should limit its cooperation with immigration and customs enforcement, and that it should not allow raids without warrants and ensure the privacy and confidentiality of student information.

“On the bright side, there are a lot of people mobilizing to try to help protect undocumented immigrants. All those who are safe, those with U.S. citizenship and other lawful statuses need to take action,” Uchimiya said.

She urges people to call congressional representatives and senators to voice their opinions about those who Trump nominates to his cabinet, specifically his picks for secretary of state, homeland security and attorney general.

“If he is to be moved at all, he needs to be moved to reconsider his appointment for Attorney General,” Uchimiya said. “Call in not only on Trump’s appointments, but to give opinions on how DACA should be extended/treated.”

Celene Vargas can be reached at celene.vargas@laverne.edu.

Christina Garcia can be reached at christina.garcia2@laverne.edu.

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