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Supporting DACA recipients and a federal DREAM Act

Anjalie Tandon/KCBX
Cal Poly student and DACA recipient Erik Garcia speaks at a press conference calling for the passage of a federal DREAM Act.

This week Central Coast politicians and organizations are responding to President Trump’s plans to phase out the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. 

On Wednesday, Congressman Salud Carbajal and State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson joined local DACA recipients at a press conference calling for the passage of a federal DREAM Act. While California passed a package of state laws known as the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act in 2011, a federal DREAM Act remains an elusive goal for many since it was first introduced in the Senate in 2001.

Carbajal’s office said passing a federal DREAM Act would "codify the DACA program, and create a path for DREAMers to gain lawful permanent residence and American citizenship."

Erik Garcia was among those who spoke in favor of a federal DREAM Act. Garcia is about to graduate from Cal Poly with a double major in political science and history - and he is a DACA recipient.

"Ideally, I'd like to get involved in local government. I truly believe that the grassroots level is where the biggest challenges are, and where we can make the most progress," Garcia said. "The DREAM Act would enable my career plans to be solidified. I always have to readjust my plans. Obviously now that DACA is cancelled, two years down the line, I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. If the DREAM Act passes, I know for sure I will be here.” 

On Friday, Cuesta College’s Latina Leadership Network is hosting a free event called “Sharing the Dream: Supporting Undocumented Students and Their Families.” Intended to provide information and resources to those affected by the end of the DACA program, the forum features "keynote speakers, breakout sessions and a resource fair." At the event there will be pro-bono attorneys and organizations focused on supporting undocumented students. Cuesta College's DACA Informational Session will take place from 4-8 p.m. - dinner will be provided - at the San Luis Obispo Campus' Cultural and Performing Arts Center.

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