In response to the proposed retraction of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Latin American Student Association (LASU) along with the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Haitian Student Association hosted an emergency town hall meeting in the BSU office on Thursday evening.
Representatives from all three organizations were present with other students and faculty who came to express their feelings and ideas on what to do next.
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA would be rescinded and gave Congress six months to replace it.
The program, created under the Obama administration in 2012, allows illegal immigrants that came to the United States as minors a two-year renewable deferred action from deportation. Without DACA, the 800,000 recipients of the program face being deported.
The town hall consisted of an open discussion led by LASU E-board members. Kalissa Sawyer, the vice president of LASU and a senior double-majoring in human development and Latin American and Caribbean Area studies, said people, especially those with citizenship, need to make sure they stand up for the rights of DACA recipients and all immigrants seeking citizenship.
Sawyer said the main reason for the town hall was to provide a safe space for a discussion about DACA and what this means for the community.
“Essentially, a lot of people in our community are within that population who are either immigrants here or are undocumented and we wanted to make sure that we had a productive conversation about the implications of this retraction of DACA, and [discuss] what we can do as a community to support the people who are now in a place of uncertainty,” Sawyer said.
The discussion focused on how to take action and protest the Trump administration’s decision. Most students proposed having a march on campus; there was a collective agreement, though, that there should be more than one march or protest.
Other students proposed organizing beyond campus and connecting with grass-roots organizations in the greater Binghamton area.
Lisette Rodriguez, a junior majoring in biology, said she attended the event because she wanted to be part of the discussion on how to help those affected.
“I think it’s really important for us to come together as a community and as students to understand what it is that is going on in our country, how it affects us and what we can do to combat it,” Rodriguez said.
Cyree Bowen, the educational coordinator for BSU and a sophomore majoring in art and design, said he believed that it was important to hold a meeting so that students can learn more about the implications of DACA’s proposed end.
“This is necessary because people can hear the news but they don’t really know the logistics of what’s going on, and some people can see it and be like, ‘Oh, Trump did another thing,’ but not really understand and comprehend what’s really going on,” Bowen said.
No new DACA applications will be accepted, but current recipients of the program will be allowed to renew their two-year deferred action from deportation until Oct. 5. LASU said it will be opening up its lounge on the third floor of University Union (UUW310) next week to serve as a safe space for people to continue the conversation about DACA.
Emergency town hall held after DACA announcement
Student groups discuss how to best help those affected