John Jay Jumps to the Defense of DREAMers

John Jay Supports Our DREAMers Photo: Emily Reyes

The decision to rescind DACA has brought attention to the thousands of DREAMers at John Jay. Our focus should be on understanding their situation and how it impacts us all.

The unknown person you are sitting next to in class or in the game room can be a DREAMer. A person with the same right to be happy as we are, yet their obstacles are often misunderstood. Currently, the situation with DACA in the United States can immensely affect our fellow students.

For many DREAMers the fear of the unknown is what worries them the most. President Trump has threatened to annul DACA in the upcoming days. DACA allowed undocumented immigrants the right to receive an education, work, and most of all, the opportunity to attempt to live their life happily in the United States.

If DACA is brought to an end, a large amount of our community will be affected. Some questions remain unanswered regarding what the DREAMers’ futures may look like if DACA is annulled.

Elizabeth, a DACA recipient at John Jay said, “My biggest fear in regards of my academics and being a DREAMer is uncertainty. It is the fact that I don’t know if I’m going to be able to graduate because deportation will always be an inescapable danger that threatens my family and I.”

John Jay attempts to support DREAMers on their path to receiving a college degree.

The John Jay Dreamers Club hosts pizza Mondays, where DREAMers and other members of the community can speak on immigration issues. This is one resource that the John Jay community provides that Elizabeth is extremely grateful for.

She states, “It is honestly a blessing to be a DREAMer attending John Jay. I live in Staten Island which is predominately white and Republican, I would have never gotten the support I have received at John Jay if I would have went to The College of Staten Island instead.”

There are many resources that John Jay provides for DREAMers that other schools do not. John Jay has offered free legal help with DACA renewals, and has also provided students with the opportunity to apply for a scholarship called, DREAM.US.

The scholarship allowed a handful of students to be exempt from paying a couple hundred dollars to renew their DACA.

Many things John Jay does to support our fellow students goes unnoticed. This includes the emergency Pizza Tuesday that took place on the day that Trump announced that DACA would be rescinded.

Students were able to attend the event twice that day because the announcement would change the life of many at John Jay.

Dahlia, a sophomore at John Jay states, “John Jay does a great job at supporting DREAMers … John Jay has also taken security measures to protect DREAMers from authorities.”  Some faculty and students are doing everything in their power to make DREAMers feel safe because at the moment the world can feel terrifying.

For many DREAMers at John Jay, it has become easier to step into the light and share their status with others.

Elizabeth, states that, “One of my friends who has DACA told me something I’ll never forget, how will anyone ever be able to help me if I stay silent?”

Faculty members also feel the support John Jay has for DREAMers.

Professor Longazel, a Law and Society professor at John Jay and author of Undocumented Fears: Immigration and the Politics of Divide and Conquer in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, states, “Walking out of the building on the day of Trump’s announcement and seeing that big banner expressing support for DACA students, I have to say, put a smile on my face.”

The support towards DREAMers has helped the John Jay community stand as one. To have students and faculty begin to think this way means we are moving forward. As students and faculty of John Jay we realize there is a problem, but we do not quite understand it.

We believe that we should not worry because we are not in their position, where the unknown events of tomorrow linger over their heads. They have attempted to make a life for themselves with goals and dreams just like ours.

Other members of the community are encouraged to attend events that support DREAMers because this is a issue that affects us all whether we know it or not.

As Professor Longazel states, “Well informed, perhaps, but we can never be informed enough. Unless you are actually affected by a punitive policy like this, you will never fully understand what it is like… This is why those of us who are not affected by these policies need to be willing to listen and follow the lead of those who are.”

As we move forward, the John Jay community must keep an open mind at the events occurring and the way it affects us. Nonetheless, one thing is for sure Dreamers are strong and will not let fear overcome them.

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