Cerritos College encourages dreamer students to stay enrolled despite DACA


College Psychologist of the Student Health and Wellness Center, Humberto Hernandez speaks to dreamer students on how they can emotionaly cope with the recent removal of DACA. There are plans to create a future Dream Resource Center where Dreamers can receive necessary information. Photo credit: David Jenkins

Carmelita Islas Mendez

Cerritos College held a meeting to discuss the impact students could face in light of the announcement made by the Justice Department revealing the reversal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the notice on Sept. 5, shocking and devastating many DACA recipients.

Sessions said that DACA would continue to be in effect for six months until March 5, 2018. A six month extension has been granted to allow Congress the time to propose a new law or set of laws that would replace DACA.

As of now the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are no longer acceptation new application for DACA. The deadline was Sept. 5.

However, applications to receive a two year renewal are still being accepted, but only until Oct. 5, 2017.

Financial Aid Director Jamie Quiroz lead the meeting to advise concerned students to continue attending classes and working hard, and provided information about alternative policies to DACA.

Quiroz reported that the number of DACA beneficiaries are not exact, but that there are approximately 1,200 to 1,100 AB 540 students .

The California Dream Act and AB 540 are two policies specific to California students that will continue to be in effect in the state in the absence of DACA.

These policies will allow students to continue to attend their colleges, qualify for an exception from non-resident tuition fees and maintain their ability to apply for state financial aid.

As a safe campus, the college maintains its support to student-focused regulations that allow students to seek higher education regardless of their immigration status.

Cerritos College President Dr. Jose Fierro expressed his support through an email writing, “Cerritos College remains a safe campus to learn and thrive, adhering to the belief our diversity drives our student success. We stand with you and will continue to fight for the dream.”

“I strongly encourage you to stay enrolled in school. If you are working, maintain your employment, and do not jeopardize your current status,” advised Fierro in the email.

Cerritos’ AB 540 Taskforce also explained their future goal on how to be of better assistance to undocumented students through training.

There are plans to create a future Dream Resource Center where Dreamers can receive necessary information.

In addition to a newsletter specifically directed to undocumented students to inform them of financial aid options, workshops and clubs.

After the information session, a support group was held to students who wanted to express their thoughts on the suspension of DACA.

Ceasar Hernandez, like many others who participated in the support group, admitted to feeling “troubled, disappointed and confused” about how the cancellation of DACA would affect them as well as other recipients of the program’s benefits.