College hosts welcome event for illegal immigrant students

Students and administrators at a California community college recently held a series of workshops welcoming illegal immigrant students to campus.

According to the school’s newspaper, the Dreamers Club at Cerritos College held the four-hour event on August 5 with the intent on assisting freshmen students who are slated to start the fall semester in the coming weeks.

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The newspaper noted that the workshop contained information sessions about classes, presentations by immigration attorneys, and other resources.

“I’ve been getting a lot of help today,” one student told Talon Marks. “I’ve been helped applying for the AB application.”

Student government president Karen Patron told Campus Reform that the “Dreamers Welcome Day” was “beneficial to current and incoming students.”

"I am happy to see that our campus is supportive of our undocumented students,” she said. “This event is beneficial for our current and incoming students; they were informed on the resources available for them on campus. At the same time, we were able to educate the parents about the processes and applications their students would have to complete."

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Patron also emphasized that the Dreamers Club was not the only group involved in organizing the event, saying it received assistance from several school departments.

"This event was not solely done by the Dreamers Club, it was a collaborative effort with our AB540 Taskforce, Financial Aid, Counseling, Adult Education, and the PUENTE Program on campus,” she explained, saying, “We hope to continue adding workshops throughout the semester and have a DREAMERS Welcome done annually.”

According to the school’s website, the AB 540 Taskforce—named for a 2001 state law allowing immigrants to receive in-state tuition if they attended high school in California—”is a working group of staff, faculty, and management who meet regularly to discuss the challenges of undocumented students and implement strategies to reach out to this population of students to increase awareness of resources and success in college.”

[RELATED: Maine offers in-state tuition to illegal immigrants statewide]

Jose Fierro, the president and superintendent of the college, voiced his support for the event in a tweet Saturday featuring a photo of event organizers setting up booths.

“Getting ready to welcome our students,” he tweeted, affixing the hashtags “#dreamers @cerritoscollege #saturdaymorning #studentsuccess #highered #diversity.”

Patron and other student leaders have also been highly critical of President Trump’s immigration policies, such as taking a tougher stance on sanctuary cities and increasing deportation actions.

In early March, then-president of the Dreamers Club Luis Guzman told the college paper that the new administration’s immigration policy “is very concerning from my perspective as an immigrant.”

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Patron also asserted that the prospect of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids make her feel unsafe on campus.

“I do not feel safe,” she said, noting that “I could be here one day and the next day be sentenced for deportation.”

Cerritos College did not immediately respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.

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