DACA students still face ‘limbo’ after court’s decision


Victoria Ivie

Artist Claudio Talavera-Ballon painted the mural now on display at the John F Kennedy Library. One of the prominent aspects is the use of the Monarch Butterfly in the mural. Monarch butterflies are a symbol for migrants, as the butterflies take long journeys each year across North America in order to survive.

Erick Cabrera, Multimedia Reporter

A federal appeals court ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) unlawful – a decision that will affect approximately millions. In California alone, there are 183,000 DACA recipients across California, as of March 2020, according to data from the American Immigration Council.

Although current DACA students will still be able to renew their status, no new applications will be accepted, leaving the program’s future uncertain.

The following Friday, Oct. 7, Cal State LA sent out a university-wide email in response to the court’s decision. The email encouraged DACA students to continue their dreams of obtaining an education at Cal State LA. The email provided resources for DACA students through either the CSU’s system student services or Cal State LA’s Dreamers Resource Center.

“The ruling of the federal appeals court does not diminish our commitment to provide DACA students with an opportunity to transform their lives,” the email stated.

On Wednesday, October 12, an open letter, signed by over 40 Cal State LA faculty members, was shared with the University Times about campus administration’s treatment of undocumented students. The letter said the administration needs to be “proactive in educating the campus community about DACA” and needs to develop a plan to support” Cal State LA students who no longer qualify for the program.

The letter claimed students and faculty were unaware of hiring a new coordinator for the Dreamers’ Resource Center (DRC) until the application deadline passed. The letter also said funding comes “almost exclusively” from outside donors but claims campus administration “frequently” takes credit for the funding of the DRC.

“We write out of anger at the inaction and intransigence of the campus administration and out of love and concern for Cal State LA’s undocumented students and their families,” the letter stated.

By the time of publishing, the university could not get back to the University Times (UT) before the print deadline regarding these claims. The digital story will be updated if a statement is received. 

One DACA student, who wished to remain anonymous for safety concerns for their family, spoke to the UT and said their initial reaction was relieved but also disappointment about the court’s decision. The student said this decision didn’t change anything about the program except for closing the program to future potential DACA recipients.

The student said part of their reason for feeling relieved was now that they only have to worry about making sure they are on time when renewing their application on time. The student further explained that although they are grateful for the opportunity, they are still scared due to the uncertainty of the program.

“The reason why I felt some relief was that, at least for some months, things will remain the same,” they said. “In the meantime, I hope things change in congress for the better.”

Another part of why the student felt relief was because they would be able to keep their job and have more time to renew their work permit.

While the student thought of some benefits in an uncertain situation, the student also said the stress about the program being taken away at any moment came back“I felt that we stayed in the same place and with the same insecurity that anyone who wants [to]  can affect our lives with no say from us,” the student said.

Cal State LA DACA students can reach out to the student organization Students United to Reach Goals in Education (SURGE). SURGE offers a support network for undocumented students and allies, along with academic support and other information regarding financial resources.


This story has updated with corrections on Oct. 27. The corrections include changing the title and the photo since the original photograph pictured a moth, not a butterfly.