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Community Colleges Continue Support of DACA Students

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Since the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals(D.A.C.A.), resource officers at local community colleges are seeing both hope and fear in the community.  Please note: San Bernardino Community College District holds the license for this station. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more.

With D.A.C.A. upheld, Mt. San Jacinto College Dreamers and DACA Liaison, Leslie Salas, is continuing to take a holistic approach in her student outreach—focusing not only on legal challenges, but academic counseling, and mental health.

“There’s still a lot of hesitation," said Salas. "There’s still a lot of fear because they’re not sure, what if it gets overturned? What happens then?”

Recognizing how risky it feels to reveal an undocumented status, and given questions about the permanence of the D.A.C.A. decision, Salas uses social media and the school website to show that the college is supportive of all their students. She also says being able to offer free legal services has given students another level of safety.

Mariana Lopez, director of the Educational Opportunities Help Desk for the San Bernardino Community College District, says since the D.A.C.A. decision she is seeing the same amount if not more students.

“I think what we’ve noticed a lot is an increase in student hope and asking for information for support,” said Lopez.

Lopez helps run a unique partnership with the Mexican Consulate of San Bernardino. Through a grant they help families navigate the education system by offering virtual courses for both parents and students and legal help with applications.

“Whether they have DA.C.A. or not they’ve always found a way to strive and we are just a facilitator between those resources and their goals,” said Lopez.

She says she is very excited to see what they can achieve now that they feel more safeguarded.