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Growing Tension

Emerald Campos, Contributor

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On Thursday Aug. 31, Cal State LA students rallied in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The rally was organized by a community of undocumented students and allies, including Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan (MECHA) and Students United to Reach Goals in Education (SURGE). Students and professors trickled in despite the ninety-eight degree weather to lend their support for the cause.

DACA, an Obama-era program signed into law in 2012, provides undocumented children with a work permit and safety from deportation. The future of the program has been in question since President Trump took office January.

Trump promised to immediately repeal the program while campaigning in 2016, but during an interview with ABC earlier this year, he changed his tune and claimed recipients should not be worried. Since his interview with ABC, multiple cases of DACA recipients being held by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) have been reported.

President Covino issued a statement on Wednesday through a campus wide email regarding the issue: “Cal State LA firmly believes, unequivocally, in the rights of DACA students to realize the dream of pursuing a university education. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to educating, supporting and protecting our students—regardless of their immigration status.”

Despite the sentiment, activists on campus did not believe in Covino’s sincerity. During the rally, student organizer Zamaria called his words empty, asking why no real action has taken place. As Covino arrived, activists made it known that they were the ones running the show.

“You’re going to listen; you owe us at least that,” said Zamaria.

The energy of the rally shifted from defiance in the face of adversity to justifiable anger. Students began to make demands, first for the abolishment of police around campus.

“We are not. We are going to have police here,” said Covino.

The next demand was to claim Cal State LA as a sanctuary campus. This was met with, “We’re doing everything we can,” from the president.

Time and again students’ questions about armed police on campus were met with direct replies from the President.

“Can we talk about the DACA issue, is that not why we’re here?” said Covino.

President Covino’s lack of presence on campus was an issue raised by students. Beyond the rally, there’s uncertainty amongst some students that the President might just not care.

Adela Tubon, who works at the Cross Cultural Centers (CCC), says she has never seen the President around the CCC. President Covino’s connection to Cal State LA students is vague to many, and school wide emails seem to only increase tensions.

At the end of the rally, multiple students called for a roundtable discussion with the President in order to sort differences and build a safer campus community.

“Email me and we’ll talk” said Covino.

The impact and future of DACA recipients was discussed as a town hall meeting. On the panel was California Congressmen Jimmy Gomez, whose father was an undocumented worker in the U.S.

His message to students was clear and concise: “the fight for justice never ends, ever! Even when we achieve and protect DACA, there is still a fight for comprehensive immigration reform.”

If Trump decides to end the program 800,000 undocumented youth would be at risk for deportation, including some Cal State LA students.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Growing Tension”

  1. Winston on September 8th, 2017 7:03 am

    Students should have ousted that Covino dude after the Shapiro debacle.

    “Email me and we will talk” is dismissive as hell.

    Students should be pissed.


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