Gov. Gavin Newsom signed four new bills over the weekend that will expand rights for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in California.
As a result of the new legislation, DACA recipients also known as “Dreamers,” will be allowed to serve on government boards and commissions, starting Jan. 1, 2020. The new laws also ban arrests for immigration violations in California courthouses and allow undocumented students pursuing a graduate degree at California state colleges and universities to qualify for a student loan program.
“Our state doesn’t succeed in spite of our diversity,” Gov. Newsom said. “Our state succeeds because of it.”
Newsom noted that while the Trump administration has been harsh on immigrants, California wants to ensure that all residents are “given respect and the opportunity to contribute.”
Additionally, the new law requires California community colleges and state universities to implement a DREAMer resource liaison, who will be responsible for guiding dreamers to resources on campus, ensuring both undergraduate and graduate students the ability to succeed in higher education.
While USC is a private institution and is not required to implement these resources, some students think they should.
Valeria Resendiz, a senior studying political science and education, hopes USC will follow the lead of the University of California and other California state schools in providing a DREAMer resource liaison. She said it could prove to be very helpful to students typically not comfortable disclosing their undocumented status.
“It can really make the system, the university system, or college system, easier to navigate and so students don’t get caught up in just the paperwork, the bureaucracy and like all of that,” said Resendiz. “They can just really focus on their studies.”
USC junior Carlos Ochoa transferred from Long Beach community college and spoke about the “underlying fear” his friends faced as undocumented and the “general climate” that leave Dreamers in fear of speaking up and asking for resources at community colleges and universities.
Ochoa said it would be good to see USC taking steps towards providing resources like the ones established by the new law.
“When you have a representative for dreamers, and not just dreamers, but undocumented students in general, it sends a symbolic message that, you know, we are here to support you, and we are here because we understand,” Ochoa said.
IDEAS at USC is a student organization currently providing resources for immigrant and undocumented student communities. Among the resources include an immigration legal clinic with free services, a designated counselor at the mental health center and a financial aid representative “who understands how to kind of navigate financial aid as an undocumented student,” according to Resendiz.