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The Carletonian

Carleton receives grant for DACA students

<ir="ltr">Courtesy of the DREAM Act Project, the Office of Intercultural and International Life (OIIL) received a $5,000 grant to increase its spring term programming for students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. DACA allows undocumented people who were brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the country temporarily without fear of deportation and with the ability to work; it is an executive action taken by President Obama in 2012. The class of 2020 marks the third year that Carleton has accepted DACA students. Because there is no federal law regarding students with DACA status, the future of programs and admissions for these students is not certain.

“It’s not clear, for example, once this particular presidential administration leaves office, what will happen to DACA,” said Thiboutot. “It’s an executive order…if we really want to change something about undocumented students and families in this country, it would take a congressional act to make it permanent.”

Carleton considers applications from undocumented students, according to its website. However, as Brisa Zubia, OIIL assistant director and Thiboutot note, the biggest challenge faced by undocumented students who are in need of financial aid is that they are not eligible for federal aid. “So what does that look like, even when they are accepted into higher ed, to be able to afford higher ed?” Zubia said.

She noted that Carleton works with DACA-status students to explore alternative ways to afford Carleton. “When you think of being under this–it’s not even a ‘status,’ per se–but under this approval for deferred action, not everyone is publicizing if their services are accessible to these students,” Zubia said. “I think admissions has done a really great job of stating that we are an institution that will consider these applicants.”

This spring’s programming will take two forms: education on Carleton’s campus and educational outreach to the Northfield community. OIIL is planning a panel of Carleton DREAMers to speak at the Greenvale Community School and the Northfield High School. The panels aim to reach students and their families, some of whom “might be possible future DREAMers,” Zubia said. The goals will be “to get a better understanding of what is possible if your child or yourself are thinking of applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which is DACA.” On campus, a speaker will come to campus to show a film about immigration in order to raise awareness about immigration. With this grant money, OIIL hopes to create long-lasting connections with existing programs in Northfield. “When we do our community outreach or education, we would invite community members to come be a part of what we will be putting in place here,” Zubia said.

The panel at the Northfield High School, for example, will be held with the cooperation of the TORCH program. TORCH, which stands for “Tackling Obstacles and Raising College Hopes,” is a tutoring program through which Carleton students work with students who belong to marginalized groups. “Within that population there might be possible undocumented high school students,” Zubia said. Working with programs like TORCH, which has established mutual trust and connections with many Northfield families, and in schools like the Northfield High School and Greenvale Elementary School, will allow the panels to reach a wider audience. “The reason we reached out to those groups specifically is so that, with or without this grant in the future, if we create this network or this relationship, then we can work on having other things come to be” between Carleton and the Northfield community, Zubia said.

In addition to community outreach, some student organizations have also expressed an interest in helping with or participating in OIIL’s upcoming on-campus events. “I think that’s only going to increase even more,” Zubia said. “I think we’re hoping that more dialogue will occur, more programming will occur.” Accepting DACA students is new “to us as an institution, and so I think we’re just getting started hopefully in having this conversation happen on campus.”

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