“Dreamers” nationwide, including those in the Valley, have temporary relief after a federal court ruling Thursday that allows DACA recipients to continue to renew their applications.
The ability to renew those applications will protect those recipients from deportation and grant them working permits — at least for the time being.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which benefits some individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, has been engulfed in a legal battle under the administration of President Donald Trump.
Undocumented students who were brought to the U.S. as children are typically referred to as “Dreamers” based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act.
Thursday’s action by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reaffirms a preliminary injunction filed in January to stop the Trump’s administration’s attempt to end DACA.
About one in four DACA recipients is from California. Genoveva Vivar, 23, is one of them.
Vivar’s parents brought her to the U.S. in 2004 from Guerrero, Mexico. She graduated from Fresno State in spring 2018 with bachelor’s degrees in finance and Spanish. Her DACA status was set to expire in October 2019.
Her biggest concern was how she was going to be able to continue to work if she wasn’t able to renew her DACA benefits. She’s working as a sales associate at Macy’s and has a side job as a financial adviser.
“I’m just really glad that... we can still continue” to renew, she said. “I financially help myself. I just feel like sometimes (people) think that we take all the opportunities (from) others. The opportunity is there for everyone in general, but it’s up to the person to decide if they want to fight for the opportunity they have in front of them.”
The January preliminary injunction was filed by several attorney generals, including California’s Xavier Becerra, along with the University of California and individual DACA recipients, among other plaintiffs.
Gaby D. Encinas, coordinator at the Dream Success Center at Fresno State, said Thursday’s court ruling is “another justification for the U.S. to continue on the path to keeping DACA.”
Thursday’s action provides “some security” for DACA students in the Central Valley moving forward, Encinas said. “That’s a big relief for our students,” she said. “It’s good news for now.”
There are an estimated 650 to 700 DACA students attending Fresno State, Encinas said. Beginning in the winter, the Dream Success Center will be organizing various support services for DACA students, such as legal clinics once or twice a month.
The California State University system will also continue to offer webinars to provide up-to-date information on the latest news on DACA.
“DACA is an ever evolving process, and so we need to be very informative every step of the way,” she said.
Alejandro Delgadillo, associate director for the Calvin E. Bright Success Center at UC Merced, said Thursday’s temporary relief only applies for renewals and doesn’t allow for new applications.
In general, until there is a more formal support for this group of undocumented young people, there is no permanent fix. “There’s nothing certain here,” he said.
Officials at UC Merced are still advocating for students who don’t have DACA. There are thousands of students who would have qualified under an Obama administration’s proposal to expand the program — an effort that was met with resistance.
“We can’t neglect those groups of young people,” he said.
In California, there are opportunities for these young people to still pursue their goals, they just need to get accurate information on what their options are, Delgadillo said.
“A lot of people get discourage,” he said. “There’s folks out there who give bad information.”