Students at the University of Nevada, Reno celebrated “UndocuWeek,” a week of events geared to bring awareness and celebrate undocumented students, between March 2 to March 6.
UndocuWeek included events like the “Know Your Rights Workshop” where students learned about the legal rights of immigrants and resources available to them, and “Paint Your Resilience,” where participants painted butterflies fashioned after their own stories and cultures.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, is an Obama administration program that allows for immigrants brought as children to the U.S. to live and work in the country.
The term “undocumented” refers to all immigrants who reside in the United States without legal immigration status, according to university Social Services Coordinator Jahahi Mazariego.
“This includes individuals who entered the U.S. without inspection but this also includes individuals who entered the U.S. with legal status but overstayed after their visa expired,” Mazariego said. “The term undocumented also includes individuals who were granted temporary protection with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Lastly, it also includes individuals who are currently in the process of legalizing their immigration status.”
There are roughly 800,000 DACA recipients in the United States, also known as DREAMers.
“As the Social Services Coordinator, I support all students and their families by coordinating campus and community resources,” said Mazariego on her role at the university. “Additionally, I support students who are undocumented, students with DACA and students in mixed-status families. We have several on campus supports but I have expertise in understanding what resources are available to undocumented and other immigrant students.”
Mazariego wants people to know that undocumented and DACA students face multiple barriers to accessing higher education.
“These students do not have access to federal financial aid like FAFSA and they can’t access any federally funded programs or services. But despite these barriers undocumented students continue to work hard to overcoming these challenges. Undocumented students are the most resilient students on this campus.”
In 2017, President Donald Trump announced plans to eliminate DACA, including the protections it provides for immigrants brought to the United States as children.
There are now three Supreme Court cases, including Trump v. NAACP, McAleenan v. Vidal, and Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California.
Trump v. NAACP was argued before the court in Nov. 2019, but a decision has not been reached yet.
Madeleine Chinery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush