Community discusses immigration policy

Members of both the local and Los Medanos College communities gathered in SSC-412 to discuss the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program instated for immigrants seeking citizenship.
The forum, led by Attorney for the International Institute of the Bay Area Juan Ortiz, had an open dialogue about other programs and options that might be beneficial.
“We want to know if people are eligible for other types of relief,” said Ortiz.
The topic has come up again because under president-elect Donald Trump, the act could be overturned.
Ortiz was there to inform the attendees and their loved ones about their options if DACA is terminated.
Ortiz said, “even if DACA is terminated, it was always meant to be a temporary benefit,” explaining that he wouldn’t exactly be surprised by the overturning of the act. He did however, express that the organization didn’t expect things to happen so soon.
“We though Hillary was going to win,” he said. “We thought this program would be around longer.”
He said whatever the outcome, “If you want to be on the safe side, ideally you want to apply before [Donald Trump] is sworn in.”
He mentioned other ways of receiving help with immigration. Uvisa would give victims of violent crimes four years of temporary citizenship. This included victims of domestic and aggravated assault who have suffered great mental or physical abuse.
Ortiz said, “A lot of people who have been victims of crime don’t even know this benefits exists.” He said though it helpful, it’s a difficult thing to obtain because of its specifications. If you do obtain an Uvisa though, the next step would be striving to get a Lawful Permanent Resident card, also know as a “green card,” which according to dhs.gov, allows people who “are non-citizens who are lawfully authorized to live permanently within the United States.”
One audience member inquired about asylum for LGBTQIA immigrants — which is “an immigration benefit that allows certain foreign nationals who fear persecution to remain lawfully in the U.S. indefinitely,” according to immigrationequality.org. Ortiz said he doesn’t know a lot about the rules and regulations surrounding it, but that there are local organizations that could assist with those services.
Ultimately, the final decision in moving forward with one’s immigration status is on them. “It’s up to you to make the best decision for you and your family,” he said.
For more information call 237-8581 or email [email protected]. You may also contact Director of Student Life Teresa Archaga 473-7552 or email her [email protected]