Undocumented Student Week has started and of the many events, one is the taskforce CHIRLA’s, Coalition for Humane Imigration Rights of Los Angeles, presentation on DACA and what it offers for undocumented college students financially and what they can do.
This special event took place on campus on Oct. 5.
A powerpoint presentation, hosted by Lynn Wang, was made up of a few slides that explained the ways that undocumented students can have the help and support on campus they need. Marilza Agundez also spoke about what the program does and about DACA.
Wang talked about how undocumented students can still have state financial aid without a DACA and qualify for California Dream Act. She also talked about that financial aid could hurt you, such as being public charge, but that is not true.
California students who do not have DACA or discontinued DACA are not affected to have state financial aid. California law AB 130 and AB 131 is the state law that allows this.
“We have been a task force since 2015 on campus, we represent CHIRLA on campus,” Wang, a counselor of financial aid, stated.
Agundez is the mission attorney at CHIRLA. She explained that CHIRLA has five pillars it uses for its work: organized, protect, educate, advocate, and engage. She is part of the protect portion because she handles the legal work.
She also talked about how they had just started Student Legal Services that comes to campus, which provide integration screenings and relief to students. The program, CSS, is the groundwork that helps with the funding to do this. They serve CSU’s up north, such as Chico and Sonoma state, but have applied to community colleges, including Cerritos.
Agundez discussed that, as a task force, CHIRLA still has a lot of work to do. They are already adding free-of-charge meetings with an immigration lawyer for students and their families.
A new thing they have is virtual counseling. Students can go online to meet a virtual counselor, if they feel uncomfortable face to face. There are over 12 sessions that are for free. Anyone in a California community college can access it.
A resource that they use for updates on the laws is called Immigrants Rising.
She also talked about how immigration law is federal law and that they are different. The funds that students use for financial aid comes from the states and they are applied differently.
“This informs students that they have support and financial help if they need it,” Marvin Rolden, an English major, said.
This event was a way to learn that undocumented students do not have to worry because CHIRLA will help them. There are more events and plans like this on their website.