Some students at the University of Idaho will not be able to legally stay in school next spring if the phase-out of DACA is not halted, or if the order is not legislatively replaced by Congress.
Last week, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his rescission from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era temporary policy to allow people who illegally immigrated to the U.S. as minors to obtain driver’s licenses, go to college and work legally.
According to the Center for American Progress, the state of Idaho has an estimated 3,132 recipients of DACA.
“We definitely do have students who will be directly affected by this,” said Kate Evans, associate professor of law and director of the UI College of Law’s Immigration Clinic.
According to the center, DACA recipients removal from the U.S. would cost the country GDP nearly $160 million annually.
But even of those able to renew, some may face difficulty scraping together the cost of renewal. Those whose DACA permits expire on or prior to March 5 may renew it, but they will need to submit their renewal applications by October 5 and pay a $465 renewal fee.
Washington State University’s Crimson Group has opened its GoFundMe effort to raise money for DACA renewals to UI students in addition to students at WSU. As of Monday afternoon, the page has received $4,283 of its $7,500 goal.
Students are not the only people at risk.
“A lot of immigrant families are mixed status,” Evans said. “A student who doesn’t need DACA might have a family member who does.”
In protest of the Trump administration’s move, the student group Movimiento Activista Social (MAS) and other students protested for nearly 12 hours outside the UI Commons.
Denessy Rodriguez, a MAS leader, organized the protest and Carlos Vazquez, an ASUI Senator, were among the students who got the word out.
“We support the students’ effort to raise awareness,” Dean of Students Blaine Eckles said. “Students shouldn’t have to figure this out on their own.”
Eckles said the most important thing to do is to get informed quickly.
Eckles said to avoid assumptions, and noted the best place to go for information and advice locally is to call, or walk in, to the UI College of Law Immigration Clinic.
“Most importantly, we want to make sure that anybody who can extend their protections does so immediately,” Evans said. “Finding those people is our priority.”
She said after that, she wants to make sure people know what their rights are.
Evans said the university cannot keep U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services off campus, but that levels of access vary between buildings. More information is available on the Dean of Students website.
University security officers do not check immigration papers or status.
Evans said if a student is stopped and asked for their name, identification or immigration status, they should ask if they are free to leave.
“The answer should be yes if they don’t have a reason to expect they’re breaking the law,” Evans said. “Providing information about place of birth or even your name can be reason to start an immigration investigation.”
Evans said people who have valid immigration status should carry proof and provide it when asked.
“If you don’t, you should think seriously about your right to remain silent,” Evans said. “Be respectful of law enforcement.”
Evans said they can answer questions and assist in filling out DACA renewal forms as well as paths to legal status in the country.
“It’s of course really, really scary when you don’t know if you’ll be able to continue going to school or having employment,” he said. “We want to make sure everyone is informed.”
The clinic holds drop-in hours every other Monday, starting September 6 until November 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached by phone outside of those hours at (208) 885-6541.
Evans said that as a law firm, all personal information someone might give them is held confidential.
The UI Center for Volunteerism and Social Action will hold an information session on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 5 p.m. The Dean of Students’ office and the Office of Multicultural Affairs are also available for information and support.
Nishant Mohan may be reached at Argfirstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @NishantRMohan