The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Partnership Provides Aid for DACA Renewals

Ariana Ortiz, Co-News Editor

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Two DACA application renewal clinics were held this past weekend, and were open to all in the NYC area affected by its repeal.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, a legal clinic took place at Catholic Charities Immigration Services in Lower Manhattan. Another was held at the IRC Conference Room at the Flushing Library on Sunday by The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ), the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF),the New York Coalition for Asian American Mental Health (NYCAAMH), and the Chinese American Family Alliance for Mental Health (CAFAMH).

Rosa Yen, Director of Multicultural Affairs, sent out an email on Monday, Sept. 25 alerting St. John’s students of the Sept. 30 consultation in Lower Manhattan. The email included a reminder of the Friday, Oct. 5 DACA renewal deadline and instructed students to secure their appointments by calling Catholic Charities by Thursday, Sept. 28.

Yen’s email did not mention the Flushing Library legal clinic–which also billed itself as a “mental health clinic”–although an announcement on MYSJU was added to further notify students of both resources. The free consultations in Lower Manhattan were the result of a collaboration between the University and Catholic Charities, while the latter legal clinic at Flushing Library was added as a potential resource for students.

“I did receive concerns from students who also shared their state of emotion, from being frustrated and sad to feeling anxious, scared and angry, not just themselves but also their family and friends,” Yen said in an email. She added that the information in the email that she sent notifying students of the clinic came from Vice President of Student Affairs Kathryn Hutchinson.

Hutchinson, who is also the co-chair of the President’s Multicultural Advisory Committee, said she has been collaborating with the University’s Law School to find qualified legal resources for students in need of support to renew their DACA applications.

“One of our adjunct law professors, Mario Russell, is the director of immigrant and refugee services and has been very helpful to our students in the past, so we reached out to him again. He was able to help secure this opportunity,” Hutchinson said, adding that Russell and members of his team were on campus last year to educate the St. John’s community about potential changes in DACA and provide guidance on how students could adequately prepare.

Hutchinson said that the members of Catholic Charities Immigrant and Refugee Services are “experts in immigration law and provide guidance to individuals on filing the proper documentation” and would “help those with complex cases determine the best course of action.”

Social Justice Exchange (SJE), a grassroots organization that seeks to provide a platform for student growth, education and civic engagement, said in a statement to the Torch that its members are “glad that the university is taking necessary steps in helping undocumented students.”

SJE added that they believe “the University’s efforts are showing the campus community that not only are undocumented students welcome here but that their right to stay will be protected.”

“We know that there is a DACA for Dummies meeting coming up, and we believe that this is a great next step in continuing to educate the campus-wide community about DACA and why it is so important in the lives of people who came to this country as kids and have no recollection of any other home but this one. Lastly, we want to say to any undocumented students on this campus that we see you, we support you, and we will continue to fight for you.”

However, Melissa Lozano, treasurer of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), criticized the University for sending the legal clinic information to students so close to the renewal deadline.

“Even while taking a clear stance against the repeal, the university’s first message fell short because it did not offer direct methods of support and resources for students who could be affected,” Lozano said. “The fact the university has yet to offer sanctuary shows a lack of commitment. The fact they offered legal clinics and consultations, but with little promotion and only days before renewals were due, shows a lack of commitment. With such a time-sensitive crisis, the university definitely should have acted with more urgency.”

Hutchinson said that in terms of any other resources pertaining to the DACA repeal that the University plans on providing, the “critical time for action is now” in light of the DACA renewal deadline.

The DACA for Dummies event, described as an educational discussion on what DACA is and its impact, takes place Oct. 16 at D’Angelo Center room 312 at 1:50 p.m.

 

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The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University
Partnership Provides Aid for DACA Renewals