On November 12, over 500 students from across the 5Cs and the surrounding Claremont community showed their solidarity for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, otherwise known as DACA.
This program, born out of hundreds of immigrant youth organizing during the Obama administration, offers work permits and protection from deportation to certain immigrants who arrived to the US when they were under the age of sixteen.
The Claremont “Home is Here” rally was just one of many across the nation that are taking place in response to the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate DACA. On November 12, the Supreme Court will hear opening arguments on the future of the program.
Student organizers from Immigrant Rights Coalition (IRC), Carla Condori Bazan PZ ’20 and Esteban Mogollon PZ ’22, spoke at the demonstration alongside Chicanx Latinx Studies professors, Gilda Ochoa and Jose Calderón. The speakers highlighted the harsh realities of DACAmented and undocumented students.
Ochoa and other speakers at the rally acknowledged the history of immigrant labor exploitation and emphasized the correlation between an increase in labor protections and a decrease in support for immigrants.
Mogollon expressed his concern for the lack of support and visibility of DACAmented and undocumented students at the 5Cs and a hope that fellow Pitzer students would recognize the issues at hand.
“Students not directly affected should care because they have peers who regularly experience gross violence from the state and receive very minimal support from their respective college institutions,” said Mogollon.“As a result, their only reliable support systems are peer-to-peer mutual aid structures where their voice and real needs are central… DACAmented students shouldn’t have to make any argument to prove themselves worthy of care and community.”
Though Pitzer itself has claimed to be a “sanctuary campus,” the administration failed to sign on to an amicus brief with support for DACA from hundreds of colleges and universities, including Pomona and Claremont McKenna College.
In order to make change at the colleges, Mogollon reminded students that they must identify powerful stakeholders and mobilize other students to put pressure where it will have an impact.
Recent conversations around Pitzer’s association with BlackRock and the work of Pitzer Student Senate’s diversity committee have initiated dialog around increasing resources for undocumented students at Pitzer.
Given the possibility of undocumented students losing access to loans, grants, scholarships, work-study money, and any other form of federally funded student financial aid, Immigrant Rights Coalition (IRC), Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success (IDEAS), and Pitzer College’s Latinx Student Union (LSU), have started a GoFundMe to ensure that the undocumented community across the 5Cs is protected and supported financially.
In addition to making donations and sharing the fundraiser page, Mogollon encouraged students to get directly involved.
“Come to IRC meetings and build with us…The way we treat and support Dacamented students will determine our commitment to these celebrated values of community, social responsibility, and inclusion.”
Amanda Gómez ‘23 is from Los Angeles, California. She calls herself Chicana even though she’s mizxed. She is also an author, writer, drummer, and likes to pretend she’s any good at comedy writing.