As part of their year-long research for the project, López and Cruz interviewed seven Dreamers who attend UC Berkeley, all currently protected under an executive order signed June 15, 2012, by then-President Barack Obama, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The university has an entire department — the Undocumented Student Program, which is part of the Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence — devoted to the roughly 500 Dreamers currently enrolled. The program assists students with academic support, provides free legal aid by East Bay Community Law Center, and offers other resources to help obtain financial aid and scholarships.
With the recent uncertainty surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and undocumented people generally, “we’re seeing fear and confusion within the entire immigrant community,” says Linda Tam ’00, who directs the East Bay Community Law Center’s Immigration Clinic. “This work has become more important than ever.”
If the Trump administration does not provide an adequate justification for rescinding DACA within the next 90 days, the government will have to accept new DACA applications, under D.C. judge John D. Bates’ ruling. The judge’s ruling does not “change anything immediately,” according to Linda Tam, a lecturer at the UC Berkeley School of Law and the director of the immigration clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center.
With Democrats threatening a government shutdown this month unless there is a resolution, the legal issue is likely to be tied up in court, according to Prerna Lal, a staff attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center who provides legal services through UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program. Lal said the Department of Justice will likely file an emergency stay in court, which, if granted, would suspend the preliminary injunction.
‘This just isn’t right’: Uncertainty remains for UC Berkeley’s dreamers as DACA renewal deadline arrives
Salma Mayorquin, an undocumented campus senior and DACA recipient, said in an email that she visited the East Bay Community Law Center’s office hours on campus to get assistance with her renewal application.
While they hail from different countries, DACA students share common tales of parents migrating to the United States to escape poverty, persecution, human rights violations, and armed conflict in pursuit of economic and educational opportunity. Chemerinsky said Berkeley Law will make available knowledgeable counselors for those who need them and work with campus and the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) “to help facilitate representation where that is needed.”
The recent immigration ban is not, and never was, about only immigration. It’s about consolidating power, silencing dissent, and denying equitable access to resources. At EBCLC, we want to take a moment to recognize our collective story, and the paths that led us here.
We started a social media campaign to share our own immigrant stories, knowing that this is about more than immigration. We do this to celebrate our inclusive society, and we invite you to join us.
Join the narrative by sharing your own #immigrantstory
Prerna Lal, an immigration attorney who works in the East Bay Community Law Center/UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program who became one of the first undocumented lawyers in the US before gaining legal status, is hopeful that allies of the immigrant community will no longer be complacent when Trump takes office.