Los Angeles, December 14 (EFE-USA) -- Willing to risk their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration protection, 30 young undocumented students will travel to their country of origin to seek support from universities and governments so that more "Dreamers" can do the same.
"It is frightening. The Advance Parole permit which allows you to be paroled back into the United States after short-term study abroad, warns you that there is no guarantee that you will be paroled back in upon return. The document states that the decision to grant you parole into the United States is up to the discretion of the immigration officer at the port of entry," explained Lidieth Arevalo, a DACA-protected Salvadoran student.
The 30 DACA-protected students will travel to Mexico for 24 days as part of the California-Mexico Project’s Study Abroad Program that allows students to study, research, develop, and promote policies and programs between higher educational institutions and cultural organizations that will enhance the teaching, mobility and exchange of faculty, students, and professionals between California and the U.S. with Mexico.
This is the second year that the California State University Long Beach (CSULB), through its California-Mexico Project, provides undocumented students an opportunity to study abroad in Mexico.
"The goal is to provide students with the opportunity, knowledge, and leadership skills for them to promote and create similar programs that can be replicated throughout the country," said Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos, coordinator of the California-Mexico Project.
Inspired by the success of last Spring’s Dreamers Study Abroad Program, Salvadoran Lidieth Arevalo, now wants to seek support in Central America to develop a similar course for students natives of that region.
"I'm going to knock on doors and seek support from Salvadoran organizations and the government to help Salvadorans living outside the country in the same manner as the Mexican government is supporting their fellow countrymen living in the U.S.," said Arevalo.
Arevalo, was part of the first group of Dreamers traveling on the California-Mexico Dreamers Study Abroad Program during Spring 2015, in which 14 DACA students had the chance to reunite with their families after years of separation. Arevalo enjoyed her time in Mexico even though her family could not travel to Mexico to see her.
"I really wanted to see them during the family reunions, but they could not get their Mexican visa on time. So I said to myself that I will fight to create such a unique opportunity like this for Central American students living in the Los Angeles area," said Arevalo.
Supported by Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos, Arevalo will be able to take eight days to travel to El Salvador during the student’s 24-day study abroad experience.
The 24 year-old Central American, personally knows the feeling of family separation and deportation from the United States, since her brother accepted a voluntary deportation in 2008 when he had just graduated from high school.
Shortly after the departure of her brother, her father decided to go back to El Salvador to support his son, causing their family to be disintegrated.
"This time I will be able to see them and hug them after having been 8 years apart. And I want other Dreamers to have the same opportunity and privilege to be once again reunited with their loved ones like I will do," Arevalo confessed.
Erik Perez, a journalism student at California State University Bakersfield, is requesting support for students from central and northern California to also enjoy this experience, and to attract attention to the importance of implementing the DACA and DAPA executive actions issued by the Obama Administration.
Perez left the Michoacán town of Zamora when he was 4 years old, and now, 17 years later, he will return to one of the most convulsive states of Mexico.
"My mom tells me to be careful when taking the bus, she says that things over there are not the same as here," said the young student.
Perez, president of UNIR, an organization that advocates for undocumented immigrants, said that getting to know his roots and learn about what drives immigrants to leave their countries, will give him more strength to continue advocating for the immigrants’ struggle.
On another case, making a path to provide financial support and re-entry to "deported Dreamers" is the goal of Sandra Lopez Zetti on this trip.
The young student of Industrial Organizational Psychology knows firsthand the ordeal suffered by a student who does not have legal status in the United States.
Despite belonging to 3 percent of California students with the best average in the state and be admitted in 6 universities, the undocumented Mexican student could not receive financial aid and had to work three jobs to pay her tuition.
"My brothers have always thought that they will not go to school because they are undocumented," said Lopez.
Although at first she did not want to participate in the program for fear of losing her DACA immigration benefit, the opportunity to become an example for her family and other students motivated her to take the risk to travel.
Lopez wants to advocate for financial aid that supports undocumented students and open the way for others like her to be the first in their family to go to college.
"I feel like I am pressured because my family knows that I could go very far and I have to do so," concluded Lopez, who will be reunited with his father in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Estudiantes indocumentados regresan a sus países a buscar sus raíces
Dispuestos a arriesgar su amparo migratorio, jóvenes indocumentados viajarán a su país de origen para buscar el apoyo de universidades y gobiernos para que los "dreamers" puedan conocer sus raíces.
"Da mucho miedo. La forma del permiso de salida advierte que no hay garantía de entrada cuando uno regrese, que es a discreción del agente de inmigración dejarte entrar", explicó a Efe la estudiante salvadoreña Lidieth Arévalo.
Por 24 días, 31 estudiantes amparados por el programa de Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA), viajarán a México como parte de un programa que permite a estudiantes de California aprender sobre la estrecha relación del estado con el país vecino.
Este es el segundo año que la iniciativa, impulsada por la Universidad Estatal de California Long Beach (CSULB), incluye a estudiantes indocumentados.
"La meta es ofrecer a los estudiantes líderes un camino para que ellos abran la oportunidad para otros y que este modelo se pueda replicar en todo el país", manifestó el profesor Armando Vasquez Ramos, coordinador del Proyecto California México.
Inspirada en el éxito del año anterior, la salvadoreña Lidieth Arévalo, ahora quiere buscar respaldo en Centroamérica para desarrollar un curso similar para estudiantes oriundos de esa región. "Voy a tocarpuertas para que nos apoyen, así como México está ayudando a los suyos, los gobiernos deberían tendernos la mano a nosotros", indicó.
Arévalo, hizo parte del primer contingente de alumnos que salió del país, que además de conocer una parte de sus raíces pudo reencontrarse con la familia que dejaron atrás, aunque su familia no logró llegar a México para el reencuentro.
"Yo esperaba que ellos fueran pero no pudieron, entonces me dije voy a luchar para que también los centroamericanos logremos hacerlo", aseveró.
Apoyada por su profesor, la estudiante tomará ocho días para viajar a El Salvador y explicar a su gente los sufrimientos y la lucha de los "soñadores".
La centroamericana, de 25 años, conoce muy de cerca el miedo a ser expulsada de Estados Unidos ya que su hermano aceptó una deportación voluntaria en el 2008 cuando recién había terminado la secundaria.
Tras la partida del joven, el padre de la familia decidió regresar a su vez a su país a cuidar de su hijo lo que dejó un hogar desintegrado. "Esta vez voy a poder abrazarlos, estar con ellos. Y como yo, quiero que muchos otros soñadores puedan hacerlo", confesó.
La idea de la búsqueda de apoyo no sólo es para Centroamérica y atrae a otros jóvenes con otras perspectivas.
Erik Pérez, estudiante de periodismo de la Universidad Estatal de Bakersfield, está solicitando respaldo para que estudiantes del centro y norte de California puedan vivir también esta experiencia, y así atraer la atención sobre la importancia de implementar la acción ejecutiva emitida por la Administración Obama.
Pérez dejó la ciudad michoacana de Zamora cuando apenas tenía 4 años y 17 años más tarde va a regresar a uno de los estados más convulsionados de México.
"Mi mamá me dice que tenga cuidado cuando agarre el bus, que las cosas allá no son como aquí", advirtió el joven estudiante.
Pérez, presidente de UNIR, una organización que aboga por los indocumentados, aseguró que conocer a fondo sus raíces y lo que impulsa a los inmigrantes a abandonar sus países le dará más fuerza para continuar en su lucha.
De su parte, el apoyo económico y el reingreso de los "soñadores deportados" es la meta de Sandra López Setty en este viaje.
La joven estudiante de Psicología Industrial Organizacional conoce de primera mano el calvario que padece un estudiante que no tiene un estatus legal en Estados Unidos.
Pese a pertenecer al 3 por ciento de los estudiantes de California con mejor promedio en el estadoy ser admitida en 6 universidades, la mexicana no pudo recibir ayudas económicas y tuvo que conseguir tres empleos para pagar su colegiatura.
"Mis hermanos siempre han tenido en la mente que no van a ir a la escuela porque son indocumentados", advirtió López.
Aunque al principio, la joven no quiso participar en el programa por temor a perder su beneficio migratorio, la posibilidad de convertirse en un ejemplo para su familia y otros alumnos la motivó a viajar.
La inmigrante quiere abogar por conseguir ayudas económicas para estudiantes que no tienen documentos y abrir el camino para otros, que como ella son los primeros en su familia en ir a la universidad. "Siento como una presión porque ellos (mi familia) saben que yo podría llegar muy lejos y tengo que hacerlo", concluyó López, quién se reencontrará con su padre en Guadalajara, México.
The California-Mexico Dreamers Study Abroad Program is organized by the
We are happy to announce that the California-Mexico Dreamers Study Abroad Program for Winter 2015, will offer 30 Dreamers and 6 staff directors from 19 different colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area, a unique 3-week Travel-Study opportunity to visit Mexico from December 17, 2015 to January 11, 2016 with most expenses covered by a grant from JUNTOS PODEMOS to the California-Mexico Studies Center (CMSC). Moreover, we anticipate that at least 4 to 6 similar programs will be created after this trip as our participating students and staff directors will take leadership into implementing similar programs at their colleges and universities to give even more Dreamers the opportunity to study abroad and to return to their country of birth.
The California-Mexico Dreamers Study Abroad Program (CMDSAP) - Winter 2015 is a demonstration project that builds upon the CMSC California-Mexico Dreamers Program (piloted during Spring Break 2015), and originally conceived to offer 25 DACA-protected students from various colleges and universities in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, a 24-day travel-study experience in Mexico City and Cuernavaca, Morelos. Moreover, the program will offer students the opportunity to visit family and/or discover Mexico on their own for 8 days. After their individual travel, the participants will return to Cuernavaca where they will study at the Centro Tlahuica de Lenguas e Intercambio Cultural (CETLALIC). In addition, while studying at the CETLALIC Institute, the participants will benefit from a 14-day home-stay living experience with Mexican host families.
The California-Mexico Dreamers Study Abroad Winter 2015 program application launched on August 22nd of 2015, and by the given deadline of September 15, 2015, the CMSC received close to a total of 250 applications from students all over Southern and Northern California as well as individuals from as far as Florida, Oregon, Arizona, Texas, and Virginia. Given that we received such high number of applications for very few spots available (a 1 out of every 10 ratio), the selection process was extremely difficult to make; thus, the CMSC opted to take 5 more Dreamers as well as 6 staff directors from different colleges and universities, overriding the original number of 25 participants that the Juntos Podemos grant ought to cover.
Nonetheless, the CMSC is happy with the selection of participants and anticipates that more student-run programs will be created from this demonstration project as it will directly affect the colleges and universities the selected students represent.
The 19 different colleges and universities that will be represented are reflected on the image below:
The Program objectives for the CMDSAP Winter 2015 are:
Improve upon the success of the CMSC’s pilot, as a model for Dreamers Study Abroad Programs
Establish the framework of a replicable model for U.S. institutions of higher education
Continue and expand video and photo documentation of Dreamers’ human stories
Prepare Dreamers as ambassadors of the model, for them to replicate similar programs
Train the participants to become advocates and providers of DACA/DAPA services
Allow the Dreamers to spend 8-days in their communities of origin with their relatives
Offer participants CSULB class credit and certification as DACA/DAPA advocates
The CMSC challenges Dreamers, program directors, and AB-540/DACA allies to initiate a dialogue with other students, faculty and administrators at their colleges and universities, about creating a similar program at their campus and rest assured that the CMSC will provide assistance and guidance to create your own opportunity, based on the model of our program.
Note:All students that previously applied and were not selected, have already been added to our data base and will be considered and informed for future programs, either programs that the CMSC hosts, or the resulting projects and programs that will be created by the participants of the California-Mexico Dreamers Study Abroad Program - Winter 2015.
We encourage students to add our email: firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts list, to ensure successful delivery of our newsletters and announcements for future programs.
Visit the original application we launched on August 22nd, 2015 for more information:
This is a short documentary about the lives of 14 undocumented students (DREAMERs) whose parents brought them to the United States since a very young age, some of them living in the USA for over 20 years, and through a Chicano Latino Studies class/program at the California State University Long Beach, these students had the chance to visit their home country for the very first time. They were able to fly to mexico and come back to the U.S. with a USCIS document called Advance Parole. They were excited to fly "home" for the first time, only to find a huge cultural shock which made them question their true identity. Follow them on this journey.
Recent CMSC News:
More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S.
More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from both countries. The same data sources also show the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s, mostly due to a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S.
Why Fewer Mexicans Are Leaving Their Homeland for the U.S.
To its southern neighbor, the United States once represented hope, safety and prosperity. But with the effects of the Great Recession still lingering and tougher enforcement along the U.S. border, fewer Mexicans see a reason to leave their homeland.
Historic Long Beach Ethnic Studies Conference Held at CSULB
A small group of teachers stood in a circle in the University Student UnionBallroom as nearly 300 high school students danced to the pounding of a Native American drum to show appreciation for their instructors’ work.
This was the conclusion to the first Ethnic Studies Conference at California State University, Long Beach on Saturday. The conference brought Long Beach Unified students from six high schools together for a day of workshops, panels and guest speakers.