Texas lawmakers have vowed to slash funding for so-called “sanctuary college campuses.” But even that ominous threat from Austin hasn’t stopped Alamo Colleges from actively recruiting undocumented students.
And the colleges are offering a big incentive.
Officials at Alamo Colleges told KENS 5 that many students have been coming to them with questions about their future as DREAMers. Still, the community college network wants DREAMers to know that they are welcome to their campuses and may get help with private grant money.
Up in Seattle, protests erupted after a 23-year-old Mexican immigrant was detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Daniel Ramirez Medina was brought to the U.S. illegally by his parents when he was 7 years old. Attorneys say that he a DREAMer and is protected from deportation by DACA, a deferred action program launched by the Obama administration.
The case is causing concern for DREAMers in San Antonio.
“My heart just breaks for them. I feel for them because, as a college student, you should be focused on your studies and, not only that, but college is so expensive nowadays, you probably have a job. So there’s so much to worry about on your plate,” said Ben Pelayo, a student at San Antonio College.
Pelayo says that he’s had friends in the same situation as Medina who have gone on to be successful.
“With this kind of added stress of ‘am I going to be deported,’ just this political tension, that would be the worst,” Pelayo said.
Pelayo is proud that his school system, Alamo Colleges, is announcing that they will be welcoming all students under the DACA program through a partnership with TheDream.us. It’s launching at San Antonio College and Palo Alto College.
The program will allow DREAMers, who are supposed to be protected by DACA, to be eligible for up to $12,500 for an associate’s degree, and even more if they decide to continue their education.
Mike Flores, the president of Palo Alto College, says that students should not be fearful to get an education.
“We have between 150 to 200 DREAMers on our campus,” Flores said. “We’ve had students that have talked to faculty members and staff that they are concerned with their status and being a DREAMer.”
ICE officials in Seattle say that they arrested Medina because he was an admitted gang member, but Medina and his lawyers, in a lawsuit, say that Medina is not affiliated with any gang.
San Antonio College, meanwhile, will be hosting a DREAMers enrollment drive on Thursday, featuring an information session for current DREAMers.
For more information, click here for the San Antonio College official website.