The Dreamers Resource Center at UTSA celebrated its one year anniversary on Jan 20. Following the Trump Administration’s announcement that it would end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection status, many schools took to implementing and establishing resource centers for their Dreamer students. Following the shocking announcement, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy sent out an email ensuring all DACA students that they would remain protected by UTSA.
“Given recent indications that DACA may not be resuscitated by Congress, it’s imperative we escalate the support we offer our Dreamers,” Eighmy said in Fall 2018.
The anniversary event was held at the Dreamers Center within the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion (UTSA Student Union 2.01.04) and brought in many students and faculty. Being one of the very first Dreamer Centers at a public university in Texas, the center’s director, Courtney Balderas-Jacob, explained how many other Texas schools are reaching out and finding out how to create their own Dreamer centers.
During the event, President Eighmy and director Balderas-Jacob said a few words on the importance of the program and thanked the Dreamer student body for their resilience and courage.
“All of the students that I’ve met who are here, who are Dreamers and undocumented, I just want to say to you, thank you for your courage, for being students with us and for wanting to get an education. You are the future of this country and the future of hope,” Eighmy said.
One of the students in attendance was Maria Rocha, a UTSA graduate with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and human development and a DACA recipient.
“The Dreamers Resource Center is a safe haven for our undocumented student body – perhaps the most resilient and self-sufficient students arriving to our college campuses today,” Rocha said.
“Rescinding DACA in 2017 took a heavy toll on my academic performance as well as my physical and mental state of mind. His recent attempt in wanting to pass the BRIDGE Act was unsuccessful due to it not including a pathway for citizenship for DACA recipients and pushing for a southern wall. Obviously I would want to see a solution that will not only benefit the 800,000 DACA recipients, but also those who did not qualify, did not apply and our families,” Rocha said.
Going forward, the UTSA Dreamers Resource Center hopes to expand its outreach to students on campus, as well as aid other universities in establishing their own Dreamer centers.
“By September of 2017, we had our first meeting and by January of 2018 UTSA had done an immense amount of due diligence and research on the ground exploring other centers to make sure that in Texas, as the flagship center of its kind, we were able to open and be successful this past year,” Balderas-Jacob said.
For further information regarding the center and its future projects, students can call the Dreamers Resource Center at 210-458-7777 or email [email protected].