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DACA Teach-In provides platform for discourse

Stony Brook University alumnus, professors and representatives of local community organizations at the “DACA Teach-In” on Wednesday, Sept. 20. The event was directed at combating the reversal of DACA after President Trump gave Congress six months to pass a law to repeal and replace it. EVELIN MERCEDES/THE STATESMAN

Edgar Samudio appeared to speak confidently alongside a panel of Stony Brook University professors and representatives of local community organizations at a “DACA Teach-In,” on Wednesday, Sept. 20 in the Humanities Building. The event, organized by the Humanities Institute, was directed at combating the reversal of the Obama-era initiative, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

“When I came here with my family, I got on a plane; I didn’t know what it meant to be undocumented,” Samudio, a Stony Brook alumnus, said. “I didn’t know what a social security number was. I just knew that we had to move.”

DACA was enacted in 2012 under an executive order by the Obama administration, after Congress failed to reach a decision over the DREAM Act — a proposal designed to set up a multi-step process for undocumented minors, with the goal of having them reach conditional residency, and then after many qualifications, permanent residency. Instead, DACA took its place and allowed undocumented people brought into the United States as children to temporarily work, study and stay in the country.

Currently, President Trump is giving Congress a six-month grace period to pass a law that would take DACA’s place. Democrats are likely to prefer a law that would grant dreamers (those protected by the DREAM Act) additional privileges, such as the rights to vote and receive government funding, or one that would create a path to citizenship, while Republicans are likely to favor more restrictive legislation.

Recently, President Trump met with Democratic congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, during which the three reportedly arrived at a deal on the matter. According to the Department of Homeland Security, however, the program is still set to end March 5, 2018.

Samudio’s immigration story is one shared by nearly 800,000 people, all of whom came to the United States at young ages and became DACA recipients early on.

“When it came time for me to get a driver’s license or get a part-time job, I learned that those were not things I was able to do,” Samudio said.

Abilities like obtaining a driver’s license, working legally and receiving financial aid in the United States are not available to DACA recipients.

Minerva Perez of the Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island pointed out at the teach-in that being undocumented in a setting like Long Island is much different than being undocumented in a metropolitan area like New York City.

“People have been oppressed, fearful and certainly keeping themselves in the shadows to not draw any positive or negative attention,” she said.

She continued on to make a connection between being undocumented, living somewhere rural like the east end of Long Island and being racially profiled.

“There is hyper-vigilance on cracking down on people driving without a license,” Perez said. “We know it does not take much to put an undocumented person in detention or detain them.”

She also pointed out that in suburban areas, completing life’s day-to-day responsibilities requires the ability to drive, due to limited public transportation options.

Members of the panel, including Lori Flores of the history department and Nancy Hiemstra of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department at Stony Brook University, delved into myths and facts pertaining to the program, including the many misconceptions that exist about DACA recipients.

David Clark, a junior applied mathematics and statistics major, is working diligently among Stony Brook students to help the organization gain recognition on campus. Although Long Island Immigrant Student Activists is not officially an on-campus organization, its members have been active on campus since last March, when DACA was first believed to be under threat.In the meantime, they say they want dreamers to know that privacy laws like the Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which protects the privacy of student education records, apply to them too.

Currently, LIISA representatives are working to update their original document of demands, which they said they want university officials to read and support.

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  • P

    Paul FirbasSep 26, 2017 at 9:35 am

    The event was organized by the deparent of Hispanic Languages and Literature, prof. Joseph Pierce and prof. Adrian Perez Melgosa. Many thanks to them! Hispanic LL also live streamed the event on its FB page, which was linked by the Spanish news outlet Univision, opening this teach-in to a national audience.

  • M

    Mira MichaelsSep 25, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    The costs of illegal immigration.

    cost of educating illegal aliens children is staggering. From K-12 it
    costs taxpayers $122,000 for EACH illegal alien. That is not even
    counting theFREE school lunches every day for 13 years.
    *Now city,
    and state officials are appropriating millions of taxpayer dollars for
    legal fees to to file law suits and in defense of illegal aliens being
    *2012 illegal aliens sent home $62 BILLION in remittances
    back to their countries of origin. This is why Mexico is getting
    involved in our politics.
    *30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates
    are illegal aliens. Does not include local jails and State Prisons. At
    21,000 per year expense per inmate in Federal Prison—do the math.
    * Using the Obama created program- DACA, 800,000 illegal aliens has funneled 800 THOUSAND jobs away from American Citizens.
    *$17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.
    Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens, I repeat 3
    MILLION a DAY to process Illegals in the Criminal justice system.
    dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP (food
    stamps),WIC, & free school lunches for illegal aliens.

    What I find most interesting is the all out BLITZ by the Democrats, MSM, every faculty member at any
    in the country fighting to the death for illegal aliens? and no one
    seem to wonder why? can you imagine the Democrats ever being this
    interested or motivated in issues involving citizens!

    There is an
    estimated 800,000 DACA recipients in the US. That is 800,000 jobs
    American Citizens don’t have or will be in competition for. The MSM and
    Democrats would have us believe that all 800 thousand are not taking
    jobs Americans want (we’ve heard that lie for many years now.) This is another falsehood told to the American
    the lie there just ‘Kids”) there not all picking strawberries they take
    great Jobs. Good enough jobs to buy homes,put their kids through
    college Why must the citizens have competition for jobs, education in
    their own country from foreign nationals?

    Now Democrats and
    illegal alien activists admit DACA recipients have great jobs,are buying
    homes, paying taxes. The GOAL (Democrats just haven’t figured this out
    yet) is for the American citizens to be employed, sending
    their kids
    to college, buying homes and paying taxes. It’s not the responsibility
    of the citizens of this country to support, educate citizens from other
    country’s.Deportation will save jobs and decrease the expense of illegal
    aliens. There is also an incredible public safety issues.