Guilford announces support of DACA

On Oct. 8, Guilford College and 165 other colleges gathered in an amicus brief in support of DACA, which provides protection for undocumented students.

The president of Guilford College, Jane Fernandes, sent out an email to all Guilford students on Oct. 8 that detailed Guilford College’s support of DACA during the amicus brief. According to Fernandes, on Nov. 12, oral arguments on the rescission will be held before the Supreme Court. In her email, Fernandes also provided important resources to help students with comprehending the process, and detailed why DACA students are so important to Guilford College.

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and is an American immigration policy that allows undocumented students in the U.S. to gain two years of deferred action from deportation. These two years can be renewed. DACA  also provides the opportunity for students to apply for jobs and a social security number.

In November 2014, Obama announced his plans to expand DACA to Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which would have granted the rights provided by DACA to illegal immigrants that have lived in the United States since 2010. However, DAPA was blocked by the Supreme Court and rescinded by the Trump administration on June 16, 2017. On Sept. 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced its plans to rescind DACA as well, and this case has been put on hold by many courts.

If DACA was approved, advocates could start paving the path towards citizenship, something not provided by the policy.

Full citizenship is, however, promoted by the DREAM Act. This calls for conditional residency as well as permanent residency for qualifying immigrants. However, since its introduction in 2001, the bill has still failed to pass. The immigrants have been aptly nicknamed “dreamers” after this proposed action.

DACA would also have a tremendous effect on Guilford’s dreamers. Not only has it been an incredible help to undocumented individuals around the nation, it also gives young students the opportunity to start a real career and continue with their lives.

DACA also has an impact on the rest of the Guilford College community that consists of non-dreamers. As a small, tight-knit community, Guilford will benefit as a whole from any individual successes.

“The triumph of DACA students is our triumph — our institution stands behind DACA students and all Dreamers,” Fernandes said in her email.

However, because of the political strife over the case, the atmosphere is more chaotic than comfortable.

“Right now, with it being so up in the air, the biggest thing that’s happening is the sense of uncertainty and fear about what’s going to happen,” said Liz Torres Melendez, Guilford’s immigrant student coordinator.

This may raise some questions about why dreamers are so important to Guilford itself.

“They are some of the most involved leaders on this campus who are fighting for the general Greensboro community, but also for their fellow Guilfordians,” Melendez said.

Even the individuals who are not as loud-spoken form a crucial backbone for the campus community and provide important input for classes. In fact, they are simply human beings and deserve to be given the same respect and rights as anyone else.

There are many things that Guilford students can do to provide support for both dreamers and the approval of DACA.

“One of the most important things for students to do is to go out in the community and see different causes that they support,” said Rithika Jonnalagadda, a first-year at Guilford.

Since this case is a legal matter, students will not have much of a political impact on the case itself. However, by supporting the right politicians, making calls and sending letters, students have the opportunity to shape this political matter in other aspects.

On the other hand, dreamers at Guilford would also benefit from support. By educating themselves, doing their own research, straying from false information and being good listeners, Guilford students have the opportunity to aid dreamers who may be dealing with difficulties as the future of DACA remains undetermined.


Editor’s note: This story originally was published in Volume 106, Issue 4 of The Guilfordian on Nov. 1 2019.