Information for DACA students set for Saturday at Palo Alto

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RAICES will be on hand to help with applications for the “dreamers” program.

By Maria Gardner

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Palo Alto College will host an informational session for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program known as DACA, Saturday, about applying for TheDream.US scholarship program and renewing applications for DACA.

This session is co-sponsored by the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Service, known as RAICES.

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Leonardo Esparza, coordinator for the welcome center at Palo Alto College, said the staff at the center has been fielding questions from students concerned about their ability to continue with their studies.

“The media attention (on immigration) and the results of President Trump’s directives have caused a lot of anxiety for students,” Esparza said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration issued an expansion of who is considered priority for deportation but has not indicated making any changes to the DACA program.

The DACA program that President Barack Obama put in place through an executive order gives immigrants who arrived as children protection from threat of deportation and a work permit for a two-year period.

Jacob Martinez, director of student conduct, at this college, said schools are safe places for all students regardless of their legal status.

Undocumented students are protected from immigration officers entering the college to detain individuals, he said in an interview Feb. 13.

Also, under The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA, “the college cannot release a student’s information to an agency,” Esparza said.

Restricted from receiving federal grants or loans, undocumented students are limited in financial support to make their college dream a reality.

“The dreamers need an equal opportunity to succeed,” Mona Aldana-Ramirez, director of student success at this college, said Feb. 16.

She said there are scholarships available for high school students enrolling in Alamo Colleges and for college students and recent graduates transferring to a four-year institution.

TheDreamUS Scholarship program has partnerships with four-year institutions to support “students achieve their academic goals,” Aldana-Ramirez said.

“The biggest obstacle is trust. We ensure them that it’s a safe opportunity for them (undocumented students),” Aldana-Ramirez said. “It’s not a government program; these are private funds.”

The deadline for TheDream.US. scholarship is March 8. (Alamo.edu/sac/dreamers).

The information session will be 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday in the Legacy Room at the Ozuna Library and Learning Center.For information on the session Saturday, call Esparza at 210-486-3101.

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