DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a program created by the Obama administration that allows minors who were brought into the country illegally to receive a two-year delay on any deportation actions and be eligible for work permits. However, the DACA program is being repealed by the Trump Administration. Congress has until March 5, 2018 to find a fix before those under DACA start losing protection.
How does that affect this community? It is possible that there may be students currently attending Stevenson who are under DACA. Natalie Gillard, assistant vice president of the Office of Multicultural Experience, emphasized that these students need to feel they are welcome in Stevenson’s community, and the community must work to make sure their mental health is stable.
“There are people from all demographics who are feeling the impact and the fear that coincides with this decision,” said Gillard. “So we need to make sure that people are feeling loved and supported in this community that they call home, this university they call home, this state they call home, this country they call home,” said Gillard. “We need to make sure that we are doing our part to let them feel the type of comfort that you only feel at home.”
On the mental health side, Gillard noted that this is not necessarily her area of expertise, but she did show concern for students’ mental health. She recommended that, for anybody who might be feeling anxiety or depression in connection to any DACA-related issues, that they might consider visiting the Wellness Center. In addition, Gillard said that anyone worried or affected can talk to her—she is more than willing to sit down with anyone. Her office is in the Caves Sports and Wellness Center, room 250.
“I want people to feel like this is home. I think it’s important to allow people to feel like they don’t have to move day to day in apprehension,” said Gillard.
She added that as a community we have to understand that at any moment home can be torn away from people under DACA. She urges students to reach out and comfort those who may be anxious about losing their only home. Those who are feeling such anxiety, said Gillard, might consider reaching out to talk to someone they trust.