DACA recipients took a sharp blow as a unanimous decision agreed they are not eligible for in state college tuition, and many organizations are stepping up to help students in any way possible.
Jose Patiño, who is a DACA recipient and works with Aliento, says the loss was no surprise, but he was not expecting to lose to a unanimous vote. Aliento works with DACA students in Mesa and North Phoenix to help them to succeed in higher education.
“There is a significant amount of students out there who didn’t age into the program or who came after the deadline,” Patiño says. “For them it’s more limbo. At least with DACA recipients, we have this 100,000 overall kind of family. They’re sort on the outside looking in.”
Patiño says it’s important that they don’t give up. DACA students aren’t just trying to chase their own dreams, but the dreams of their families as well. Older family members risked everything getting into America to give their children a better opportunity than they had.
“They didn’t leave the country for themselves,” Patiño says. “They left the country for their children so they can have opportunities. Regardless of what happens, you are carrying the hopes and dreams of your family.”
Progress with DACA recipients has taken a backseat, Patiño says. He says it’s been difficult under the direction of the current president. Patiño spent three month lobbying in D.C. He says there are many in Congress who want change, but “they’re just afraid because the president is so against immigration.”
“It’s really hard to hang your hopes with this president,” the DACA recipient says. “My idea is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
In the mean time, Aliento will continue to educate people on who Dreamers are and what DACA means. For more information on the organization visit alientoaz.org.