By Jazlyn Jimenez ’20 and Libni Luna ’22
Student Government hosted a rally to show support for DACA on Nov. 8 during advisory as the Supreme Court will be hearing arguments regarding the renewal of DACA on Nov. 12.
The rally consisted of both Dreamers and allies vocalizing their support for this program through short speeches and poems. “I decided to speak because I passionately support the idea of keeping undocumented students in America and knew I needed to share my story,” explained senior Jennifer Hernandez (whose name has been changed).
Hernandez, who was granted DACA her sophomore year, right before Trump discontinued the program, expressed, “This program is really helpful in making me feel secure that I won’t be deported and gives me the ability to have a job or even own a car.”
Furthermore, senior Christian Rodriguez (whose name was changed), wrote a speech but was unable to attend since he was out sick; however he expressed, “I am an undocumented student, and I would have loved to have had the opportunity to have DACA, but because of my family’s lack of knowledge about the program, I wasn’t able to apply, and it is too risky now that Trump is in office.”
Rodriguez also expressed how not having DACA has negatively impacted him: “Despite being a strong academic student, I have been denied from taking part in scholarship opportunities that I would have loved to have been a part of because I am undocumented; I just hope that future students can have the opportunites that I haven’t had without DACA.”
Furthermore, sophomore Sophia Marin (whose name was changed), mentioned how she completely supports DACA due to all the opportunities that it offers people: “DACA provides many opportunities for undocumented people, especially the young undocumented students who graduated high school and want to go to a university without the constant worry of being deported.” Marin continued stating her beliefs on DACA, “I strongly believe that the goals and dreams of the undocumented community are not illegal, and [Dreamers] should have an opportunity to make a life in the place they have always called home.”
There were also some staff who wished that they could have attended the rally but could not due to them having to stay with their advisory. Alison Pallardy, freshman Multicultural Literature teacher, was one of those staff members who is a supporter of DACA; she stated, “I am a firm believer that all children and students living in the United States deserve access to higher education, regardless of immigration status. In my opinion, undocumented students who were brought to the United States by their parents seeking better opportunities should not be denied.”
Pallardy also mentioned how the Pritzker community should continue to make efforts to support DACA. Pallardy stated, “As a teacher in a school that serves 10-15% undocumented students, I firmly believe in supporting our students and surrounding community to protect DACA. I am a supporter of the Pritzker Access Scholarship that has awarded many undocumented students from our community and the Noble Network scholarships to attend universities that would otherwise have been financially out of reach.”
The Supreme Court is currently discussing the topic of DACA. The choice will affect all undocumented students under DACA, along with all of those who wanted to apply for the program.
DACA, which protects roughly 800,000 immigrants, was created in 2012 by former President Barack Obama through an executive order. However, in Sept. 2017, President Donald Trump ended the program; though, the program has continued to accept renewals for DACA recipients while the court makes their decision, which is not expected for at least another six months.
“After hearing about the national [DACA] protests from my friend that attends Bulls College Prep, who was organizing a rally at her school, I knew I had to organize a rally and inform my community because 10% of our student body are undocumented,” explained Jackson.
To conclude the rally, Senior Class President Tiana Jackson and Vice President Emily Pereznegron listed ways that DACA supporters could continue to support this program:
- Be informed and keep up with the discussions in the Supreme Court
- Participate in rallies
- Share their story or encourage a friend, who is a Dreamer, to share his or her story
- Contact their local representatives and let it be known that this is a cause that is important to them
Jackson stressed that lawmakers are here to vote on our behalf, so it is important for us to voice our opinions and express what is important to us.