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Mace & Crown | December 16, 2017

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DACA uncertainty protest takes place on Kaufman Mall

Natalie Hockaday | Contributing Writer

Protesters marched chanting “D-A-C-A, immigrants are here to stay,” and “No justice, No Peace” along the Kaufman Mall Tuesday, Oct. 24. In early September, President Trump announced his desire for the termination of  DACA (Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivement). On Kaufman Mall, the ralliers displayed posters reading, “Dreams are not illegal, #ODUforDaca,” another sign stated that “You’re racist if you’re against THIS, #DefendDACA.”

Along with protesting the potential expulsion of DACA, some of the participating student protesters were not shy to criticize the school’s administration. They claimed that information about other events and situations are provided out to the school but ODU’s president, John R. Broderick, has yet to release a statement about the situation.

ODU Vice President of Student Engagement & Enrollment Services Dr. Ellen J. Neufeld, sent an email regarding the change in DACA and ODU in early September. The email stated that the school “will do everything in their power to assist students” and “will work with state agencies and other colleges and universities to keep the Monarch community fully informed of developments.” The email also mentioned how ODU is strengthened with its diversity and that its is committed to helping the students.

“But where was President Broderick… he sent an email about Charlottesville, he’ll send an email about anything but he hasn’t sent anything about this just yet,” said Karen Flores, who was one of the leaders of the protest on Tuesday. The protesters were there to make a difference and let their voice be heard on this controversial topic.

Some of the protesters said that they knew people who were covered under DACA. The protesters were afraid that these people may have to leave the country. One protester mentioned that their close friend would be affected by the DACA decision and could possibly be deported with their family.

The President gave congress six months to come up with a plan for DACA to protect the recipients of it in order continue the policy. After those six months, DACA will officially be terminated. President Trump is leaning on Congress to pass legislation for DACA to make along with this information, applications for renewal of the DACA membership were no longer taken after early September. According to the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services website, up until now, DACA recipients had to renew their applications/status every two years and pay the fee of $465.

The DACA policy was made to allow people who came into the U.S. as children to be able to be residents of the U.S. on June 15, 2012. Through this program, the recipients would have to meet the requirements to acquire DACA. Some of those requirements included being under the age of 31 by June 15, 2012, having to have come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, and currently being enrolled in school or hold some sort of educational degree.

The purpose of this protest was “to raise awareness to the campus about what’s going on with our DACA recipients,” said Antony Mondragon who is the President of ODU’s Latino Student Alliance chapter. Within the LSA, there are two members who are DACA recipients, Mondragon said.

DACA recipients pay taxes, some are students at universities around the country, and none hold any criminal record. Some of the protesters expressed shock when they learned what may happen to DACA legislation within a few months. The protesters vocalized their frustration that DACA recipients do not get benefits from the government.  According to an article by the Washington Post, the recipients of DACA do not receive the government’s financial assistance of welfare, food stamps, medicaid or health care tax credit from the government even though they pay taxes and do what other U.S. citizens do.

The protesters wanted the school to take some action on helping the school be more aware of what is going on with DACA. Khenia Haro-Perez says she wants “more [of the] higher administration to be aware of the problems that a big majority of the campus is facing [be]cause it’s not just Latinos or Latinas that are facing opposition from DACA, it’s other immigrants as well.”

This protest showed how students at ODU are invested in vocalizing their beliefs and their passion for spreading awareness on issues that affect them.