PCC stands with its undocumented, documented immigrant students
Photos and Story by James Hill
Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has reached a 5-4 decision to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides work permits and protection from deportation for close to 800,000 DACA recipients in the U.S.
In particular, the Supreme Court noted that these recipients relied on the DACA program in continuing to put down roots in the U.S., by enrolling in degree programs, embarking on careers, starting businesses, purchasing homes, and starting their own families.
“We are overjoyed by this decision,” said Portland Community College President Mark Mitsui. “While we are in a time of unprecedented uncertainty, Portland Community College remains committed to every member of our community, and it stands with our DACAmented and DREAMer students, and all immigrants regardless of immigration status. The college will continue to advocate for a more robust, humane, long-term solution for these childhood arrivals and firmly opposes any executive action or legislation that would unfairly deprive DACA recipients their right to pursue their educational goals in their country of residence.”
On Dec. 20, 2016, the PCC Board of Directors resolved to make PCC a “Sanctuary College” when concerns emerged about the impact of potential changes in federal immigration policy for undocumented and documented immigrant students. Concerns centered on potential changes to federal laws and policies that protect individuals from discrimination and harassment.
Mitsui said it is vital that every member of the PCC community feels safe and welcomed.
“At Portland Community College, we hold dear a vision for our community and for our country—a vision of a diverse and an inclusive democracy,” Mitsui said. “We believe in our DREAMers. They are leaders, scholars, and community supporters. They are key members of student government, active participants in clubs and organizations, scholarship earners, program initiators, people who, every day, contribute in countless ways to the diversity, inclusiveness, and excellence of our college.
“This is, quite clearly, an issue of equity and justice for the several hundred thousand people who only know the U.S. as home,” he continued.
President Mitsui said it’s important to support DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) students. Last November, PCC welcomed more than 220 attendees from throughout the metro area for PCC’s inaugural DREAMers Breakfast, which raised more than $36,000 for scholarships through the PCC Foundation to help support PCC’s DACA students who lack access to federal financial aid.
In 2017, through the Oregon Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative, Meyer Memorial Trust awarded PCC Foundation a $50,000 grant to help launch the DREAMers Resource Center, located at the Rock Creek Campus. At the time it was the first resource center for undocumented students at any Oregon community college or university. Today, it provides outreach, education, advocacy and community resources, bilingual materials, and funding for urgent and emergency services for undocumented and DACA students and their families.
“We will continue to collaborate with institutions, agencies and community organizations that uphold the mission of PCC and the United States Constitution of ‘equal protection under the law,’” Mitsui said.
Resources for Students
- American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon — https://www.aclu-or.org/
- Causa Oregon — https://causaoregon.org/immigration-resources/
- DREAMers Resource Center — https://www.pcc.edu/dream/
- Undocumented student resources — https://www.pcc.edu/dream/undocumented/
- Counseling Services — https://www.pcc.edu/counseling/
- DREAMer Scholarship — https://www.pcc.edu/enroll/paying-for-college/scholarships/apply.html