DACA Organizations Supporting Undocumented Families and Students

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We’ll talk about the resources and organizations supporting undocumented families and students. Reyna Montoya, with Aliento AZ, Korina Iribe, with Undocumented Students for Education Equity (USEE) ASU, and Ezequiel Santos, with Mesa Undocumented Students Thriving (MUST) Mesa Community College talk about how their organizations are supporting the community.

José Cárdenas: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO HORIZONTE. I'M JOSE CARDENAS. A "DREAMER" IS DEPORTED FOR THE FIRST TIME UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ADMINISTRATION FURTHER RAISING CONCERNS AMONGST UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS. WE'LL TALK TO SOME ARIZONA DREAMERS INVOLVED WITH ORGANIZATIONS ADDRESSING THIS AND OTHER ISSUES OF CONCERN. AND, "GET TO KNOW" THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF A VALLEY ORGANIZATION SUPPORTING NATIVE AMERICAN AND CHICANO ARTS. PLUS, IN SOUNDS OF CULTURA "S-O-C", LEARN ABOUT A GROUP SUPPORTING GIRLS AND WOMEN AS WRITERS, POETS, AND ARTISTS. ALL THIS COMING UP STRAIGHT AHEAD ON HORIZONTE.
Video: "HORIZONTE" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

José Cárdenas: DESPITE ASSURANCES FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP AND OTHER TOP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS THAT THEY ARE NOT TARGETING DREAMERS, THE RECENT DEPORTATION OF A DREAMER AND CONTINUED UNCERTAINTY ABOUT THEIR ULTIMATE STATUS HAS RAISED CONCERNS AMONGST DREAMERS.. JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS AND VALLEY RESOURCES DESIGNED TO HELP DREAMERS IN THE COMMUNITY WITH THEIR QUESTIONS IS REYNA MONTOYA, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR ALIENTO ARIZONA. AND KORINA IRIBE ROMO, ADVOCACY DIRECTOR WITH UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS FOR EDUCATION EQUITY "U-S-E-E" AT A-S-U. KORINA IS A DACA RECIPIENT AND A FREQUENT GUEST ON OUR SHOW. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK. LET'S START WITH THE DEPORTATION. THERE HAS BEEN A LOT IN THE NEWS AND DEVELOPMENTS AND CHANGES AND WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT DIDN'T HAPPEN. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US?

Korina Iribe Romo: THIS CAUSE WAS A YOUNG DACA RECIPIENT IN CALIFORNIA WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND. HE WAS APPROACHED BY BORDER PATROL. HE DIDN'T HAVE HIS ID WITH HIM BECAUSE HE LEFT HAD IN A FRIEND'S CAR AND WITHIN THREE HOURS HE FOUND HIMSELF DEPORTED. THIS HAPPENED BACK IN FEBRUARY AND WE ARE JUST LEARNING ABOUT IT NOW. THIS IS VERY TROUBLING FOR US BECAUSE THIS IS NOT THE FIRST CASE WE HAVE SEEN WHERE THE ADMINISTRATION AND BORDER PATROL HAS ACTUALLY GONE AFTER DACA RECIPIENTS WHEN THERE WAS THIS NOTION IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN. IT HAPPENED WHEN ICE CAME INTO --

José Cárdenas: IS THAT THE ONE IN SEATTLE?

Korina Iribe Romo: YES, THEY CAME IN TO TAKE HIS FATHER AND AT THE SAME TIME WE WILL TAKE YOU AND THEY ALLEGED HE ADMITTED TO BEING A GANG MEMBER. HOW LIKELY IS THAT. HE CAME OUT SAYING THAT IS NOT TRUE AND THEY HELD HIM IN DETENTION FOR OVER SIX WEEKS. THEN WE SAW VANILLA AND SHE WAS DETAINED AFTER SPEAKING PUBLICLY ABOUT HOW SHE WAS HIDING IN HER CLOSET WHILE IMMIGRATION CAME INTO HER HOME AND TOOK HER FATHER. AFTER SPEAKING AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE TALKING ABOUT THIS AND HER REALITY SHE WAS APPROACHED BY ICE AND THEN DETAINED FOR TWO WEEKS. SO, WE SAW THIS AS A FORM OF RETALIATION. WE ARE HEARING THE NOTION PRESIDENT TRUMP AND THE ADMINISTRATION IS NOT TARGET DREAMERS BUT IN REALITY WE ARE SEEING IT IN PRACTICE AND THAT IS NOT THE CASE.

José Cárdenas: HOW MUCH OF THIS IS PEOPLE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL EXERCISING THEIR OWN DISCRETION AND DECIDING TO TAKE TO HEART THE COMMENTS I THINK SEAN SPICER MADE THAT THE SHACKLES ARE OFF. DESPITE WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP AND SECRETARY KELLY IS SAYING IF THE OCCASION ARISES FOR THEM TO DO SOMETHING WITH DACA STATUS THEY WILL DO IT.

Reyna Montoya: I THINK WE HAVE TO PUT IT IN CONTEXT AND THINK ABOUT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, JEFF SESSIONS, HAS MADE IT PUBLIC GIVEN AFTER THE CASE OF JUAN WAS REALLY PUBLIC. HE SAID NOBODY IS SAFE AND WE ARE GOING TO TARGET PEOPLE AND IF THEY ARE UNDOCUMENTED THEY NEED TO BE REMOVED FROM THIS COUNTRY. I THINK THE FACT IT IS UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE OR DACA FOLKS LIKE MYSELF, LIKE JUAN, LIKE OTHERS AND IT IS ABOUT UNDOCUMENTED PARENTS. WE SAID IN ARIZONA ABOUT LUPITA. THAT WAS THE WOMAN WHO WAS DEPORTED BECAUSE SHE WAS A VICTIM OF JOE ARPAIO'S RAIDS. IT IS COMING FROM THE FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION AND ICE. THEY ARE TRYING TO SAY YOU ARE SAFE BUT IN REALITY OUR COMMUNITIES ARE NOT SAFE.

José Cárdenas: DO YOU THINK PEOPLE ARE REGARDING THE PRESIDENT'S STATED INTENTION? OR THE PRESIDENT NOT DOING ANYTHING TO STOP THIS ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY?

Reyna Montoya: YES, I THINK THOSE TWO THINGS ARE RIGHT. I THINK HIS INTENTIONS AND WHAT HE SAYS ON CAMERA TO LOOK GOOD AND MAKE SURE HE IS APPEASING TO THE BASE AND I THINK THE PRACTICE AND REALITY OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN EVERY SINGLE STATE.

José Cárdenas: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION THAT JUST GOT STARTED FOR EDUCATIONAL EQUITY. UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS FOR EDUCATIONAL EQUITY. WE HAVE A PICTURE WE WANT TO PUT ON THE SCREEN AND AS I UNDERSTAND THIS WAS AT THE COURTHOUSE WHEN THEY WERE ARGUING THE CASE ON STATE TUITION. AND THAT IS YOU AT THE PODIUM.

Korina Iribe Romo: THAT IS ME. THIS BATTLE FOR IN-STATE TUITION HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR A FEW YEARS. IF WE GO A LITTLE BIT FURTHER BACK IN 2006 WE HAD PROP 300 WHICH WAS IMPLEMENTED IN 2007 WHICH BASICALLY TOOK AWAY ANY FINANCIAL AID FOR UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS AND ALSO BASICALLY SHUT US OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY BECAUSE WE WOULD HAVE TO BE PAYING OUT OF STATE TUITION COST WHICH IS UNAFFORDABLE ESPECIALLY WITHOUT FINANCIAL AID. WHEN DACA CAME AROUND, THE STATE GAVE THE STUDENTS THE LOCAL TUITION BUT THE UNIVERSITIES DIDN'T FOLLOW SUIT AND OUR THEN ATTORNEY GENERAL SUED THE MARICOPA COUNTY COLLEGES AND SAID YOU CANNOT BE DOING THIS. THAT CASE HAS BEEN IN THE COURTS. WE ACTUALLY WON A FEW YEARS BACK AT THE STATE LEVEL SAYING, YES, DACA RECIPIENTS HAVE LAWFUL STATUS AND CAN HAVE IN-STATE TUITION BUT THE STATE. WE SEE THE CONSTANT ATTACK. YOUR NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS DECIDED TO CONTINUE THE SUIT INSTEAD OF PULLING OUT EVEN AFTER THE COURT'S DECISION. WE ARE STILL IN THAT BATTLE. THE ORGANIZATION IS VERY FOCUSED ON TUITION EQUITY PORTION SO MAKING SURE THAT WE CAN CONTINUE THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE CASE AND ADVOCATING THIS IS WHAT NEEDS TO STAY.

José Cárdenas: ONE POINT OF CLARIFICATION. WHEN THE BORDER REGIONS CAME OUT THEY EXTENDED IN-STATE TUITION.

Korina Iribe Romo: RIGHT. IT WASN'T UNTIL AFTER THE FIRST WIN WE HAD THAT WE WERE THEN ABLE TO -- WE HAD A CAMPAIGN GOING AT THE TIME WHICH WAS FOR DACA TO PRESSURE THE REGENTS AND GET THEM TO PASS IN-STATE TUITION AND BASED ON THE STUDENT ACTIVISM AND LITIGATION COMPONENT OF THE COURT SIDING ON OUR SIDE THEY WENT AHEAD AND PASSED IN-STATE TUITION.

José Cárdenas: TELL ME, WHAT IS THIS NEW ORGANIZATION GOING TO DO THAT HASN'T BEEN DONE BY OTHER GROUPS YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN, FOR EXAMPLE A-DOT?

Korina Iribe Romo: I THINK THIS NEW ORGANIZATION IS ALL UNDOCUMENTED AND DACA-STUDENT LED. WE HAVE A LOT OF ORGANIZATIONS IN THE VALLEY BUT NONE THAT ARE PURELY LED AND UNDOCUMENTED. THIS IS WHAT WE BRING THIS COMPONENT OF OUR REALITIES AND STRUGGLES AND THAT URGENCY OF WHAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH ESPECIALLY IN THIS MOMENT AND IT IS A HEIGHTENED MOMENT UNDER THE NEW ADMINISTRATION. IT IS CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR THE TUITION EQUITY AND ADDING FOR PROTECTION AND THE PROTECTION OF OUR FAMILY. PUSHING THE INSTITUTION TO DO THAT NOT ONLY FOR US, NOT ONLY FOR OUR WELLBEING BUT THE WELLBEING OF OUR FAMILY'S WHO ARE ALSO UNDER ATTACK WITH THE NEW ADMINISTRATION.

José Cárdenas: REYNA, YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THIS ISSUE FOR SOME TIME. YOU FOUNDED AN ORGANIZATION A YEAR AGO?

Reyna Montoya: YES.

José Cárdenas: WHY THAT ORGANIZATION AND WHAT DOES IT DO DIFFERENTLY THAT OTHER ORGANIZATIONS HAVE TAUGHT BEEN DOING?

Reyna Montoya: I THINK WE HAVE ORGANIZATIONS FOR THOSE DOING AMAZING WORK IN THE ORGANIZER LENS BUT IN REALITY OUR FOCUS IS PEOPLE WHO ARE UNDOCUMENTED AND HAVE DACA GO UNDER A LOT OF STRESS IN SOCIETY AND THE SYSTEM OF DEPORTATION AND DETENTION AND JUST LIKE OUR BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM IS CREATING TRAUMA AMONG PEOPLE LIKE US SO IT WAS TAKEN UPON OUR HANDS THAT IT WAS NOT ONLY THE ORGANIZERS OR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ISRAEL -- VOLUNTEERING BUT MAKING SURE THE PEOPLE MAKING THE STRATEGY ABOUT OUR ACTIONS AND WHAT OUR FOCUS WAS HAVE TO BE DIRECTLY IMPACTED. WE DO TWO THINGS. WE DO COMMUNITY HEALING -- ARTS.

José Cárdenas: THAT IS A DIFFERENT APPROACH. WE PUT PICTURES ON THE SCREEN OF CHILDREN WITH ARTS AND THESE ARE AMONG THE PROJECTS OUR ORGANIZATION HANDLES.

Reyna Montoya: WE PUT ON THERE WITH CHILDREN AND ADULTS. SOMETIMES WHEN WE THINK ABOUT FAMILY SEPARATION WE THINK ABOUT JUST THE DETENTION CENTER BUT WHAT ARE CHILDREN GOING THROUGH AND WHAT ABOUT THE YOUTH? KIND OF ADDRESSING IT THROUGH THE EYE WE TAKE AWAY THE STIGMA AND PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO REGAIN AGENCY AND RESOURCE ENOUGH SO THEY CAN ACTUALLY BE SUSTAINABLE FOR JUSTICE TO FIGHT FOR ADVOCATION.

José Cárdenas: ARE THE SPECIFIC THINGS YOUR ORGANIZATION IS DOING TO HELP THE DACA STUDENTS, THE DREAMERS, DEAL WITH SOME OF THE UNCERTAINTY THAT HAS BEEN RAISED RECENTLY?

Reyna Montoya: YES. FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT WE ARE DOING NOT ONLY WITH THE ART BUT LEADERSHIP WITH ELEMENT TRAINING AND BEING ABLE TO NOT ONLY TALK TO THE MEDIA BUT THINK ABOUT WHAT ARE THE POLICIES WE WANT AND WE LIKE TO SAY WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. WE HAD CHILDREN WHO WERE SAYING WE DON'T WANT IMMIGRATION AT OUR SCHOOL SO WE NEED TO DEAL WITH CENTERING AT THE CORE TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE INSTITUTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.

José Cárdenas: THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR DOING THIS AND COMING ON "HORIZONTE" TO TALK ABOUT THIS. I AM SURE YOU WILL HAVE YOUR HANDS FULL FOR A WHILE. COMING UP LATER IN THE SHOW IN SOUNDS OF CULTURA "S-O-C" FIND OUT ABOUT A GROUP HELPING GIRLS AND WOMEN WITH INTERESTS IN THE ARTS.

Reyna Montoya: Aliento
Korina Iribe Romo: Undocumented Students for Education Equity

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