DACA Affecting Pima Community College

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By: Vanesa Barnett



Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – DACA- has been around for five years and it remains a battle between the White House and the people of the United States. Former President Barack Obama made DACA to let undocumented immigrants obtain a workers permit and go to school with in-state tuition.

Ten conservative states are trying to stop the DACA program. Over 800,000 nationwide undocumented students have been able to work and attend school for the past five years. 




Dayana Contreras, a 20-year-old DACA student at Pima Community College, is worried of the changes that Trump might take into action. 

For years, DACA students and U.S citizens that believe in the movement have been fighting for the government not to overrule the law. It has been a battle since day one, and they do not plan to stop fighting now.

I just feel like President Trump wants to make all our lives difficult … but we will not let him get to us,” Contreras said. “We’re going to keep pushing through so if that law passes it might be more difficult for us, but we’ve been through a lot already so we can manage this, too.”

Students who apply for the program are required to pay $465 to apply, and there is a low chance they can get denied. 

Contreras, however, finished the paperwork in time to be approved. 

“It wasn’t hard for me,” Contreras said. “I don’t have a criminal record, so it was fairly easy to get approved. There were loads of paperwork and I needed a lot of help with that, so I went to Pueblo High School for help.”




DACA students are now waiting to see if the Trump administration is going to stop the program. If the program was canceled, DACA students will be forced to pay out-of-state tuition instead of in-state tuition, and no student would be able to work.  Without work they will not be able to attend or pay for school. 

In the fall of 2013, DACA students were able to receive in-state tuition. In spring of 2017, there were about 170 DACA students that were enrolled at PCC. 

Chancellor Lee Lambert supports DACA. 

We welcome and embrace people from all walks of life and all points of view,” Lambert said in a press release. “Diversity is our strength and moral compass.”



On Sept. 5, Trump revealed that he is going to rescind DACA. PCC and the governing board disagree with that action and will continue to support the diversity of their student body. As students and families become fearful and uncertain they encourage students, faculty and staff to come together as a community and support these students. 

Now students will only be able to continue working until their work permit expires. Students will no longer be able to go to school, have a driver’s license and lose in-state tuition. 

If the student’s permit ends by March 6, they have a chance to renew it by October 5, which will extend the permit, if not they will not have a chance to renew it anymore until further news and changes occur. 



Trump has destroyed many hearts and has put fear in their eyes. PCC student Erick Lizarraga, 21, is concerned about what to do next.

“I was pretty shocked I thought he was going to defend it, he hinted on defending it… I felt hopeless and scared,” Lizarraga said. “Congress hasn’t been productive…I’m afraid we’re all gonna lose our work permits and lose everything we’ve worked for.” 

Right now it is up to congress to make the last call and they have until 2020 to indefinitely end the program or allow to continue it. If not many people will lose their jobs and will not be able to work at all. 



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