Tufts' Students of DACA and Undocumented Status Speak Out

As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Tufts stands with its students of DACA and undocumented status
Watch this video to hear a statement from a student of DACA and undocumented status. Video: Jandro Cisneros
November 12, 2019

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On Tuesday, November 12, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Tufts has joined an amicus—or "friend of the court"—brief, opposing President Trump’s rescission of DACA.

"Our commitment to our DACA and undocumented status students is in keeping with our long-held values of inclusion and access—values that date to the founding of the university," said Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco. "We will continue to honor our commitment to providing these students the education that they have rightfully earned and deserve." Ahead, two of the university's students of DACA and undocumented status share their stories.

Student from the Class of 2021

“I come from a pretty small family: just my mom, dad, a sibling, and me. I came to the United States when I was little, about five years old. My parents always emphasized education, so I really enjoyed school and learning. During my senior year when I was looking at colleges, I read Tony’s statement about supporting DACA and undocumented students, and it made me feel heard and seen. Usually I stay in the background and don’t really talk about my status, so it was affirming.

My first year at Tufts, President Trump was talking about cancelling DACA. I had just received DACA status, got my first job, and opened a bank account for the first time. I was finally starting to live my life, to fully live my life. I remember going to a meeting and hearing Tony speak and starting to cry.

I remember feeling hope. It was a little beam of light that somebody cared and didn’t see us as aliens or monsters or as someone taking away their spot. We are not here to take away opportunities from anyone. Each of us earns our way into this school. Nothing is given to us. We work really hard. There is not one undocumented story. We have similarities, but we’re very different people. Our stories are very dynamic and different.

Students should be aware not only of how laws affect them, but how they affect people who are undocumented. It should inform the way you participate in government. This is a time when I wish I could vote. I am civically engaged but I can’t participate. For those who can, whether you vote for the current president or someone else, engage in your civil duty. There are so many people who wish they could vote but they can’t."

Student from the Class of 2021

“I grew up in Colorado. I consider Colorado to be my home. I grew up loving the mountains and all things nature. School has always been a big focus for me, so the college application process was a huge part of what I was doing during my sophomore, junior, and senior years in high school.

The community that’s been established here at Tufts, primarily by the FIRST Resource Center, has been incredible; it’s probably one of the only reasons why I am able to call Tufts my home. It’s very encouraging to find people who have walked in the same kind of shoes you have and to go through this experience together.

Tufts’ support of DACA makes me feel that my situation is a lot more valid and a lot more real. I’m not really allowed to talk about it or express the difficulties that come along with it to just anyone. That people who aren’t in our situation still understand the complexities and are willing to have our backs on it is very encouraging for the future.

I wish people had less or no negative connotations about undocumented students. Not to place blame on whoever brought us here or our parents or anything, but it wasn’t our choice to be in this situation. I wish for more sympathy from people—this isn’t the ideal position I’d like to be in, but these are the cards I was dealt. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not as black and white as it may seem from an outsider’s point of view.”

Watch: 'Dreamers' rally outside the Supreme Court as DACA case is heard