DACA and immigration 101 panel to be held on campus Thursday


A poster hangs outside the pavilion at Gaia House on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, during a vigil held for DACA students. (Athena Chrysanthou | @Chrysant1Athena)

By Francois Gatimu

The Southern Illinois Immigrant Rights Project and the Hispanic/Latino Resource Center will hold a panel discussion about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Grinnell Hall.

The discussion, titled “DACA and Immigration 101,”  will be focused on how President Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA affects the immigrant community in the area.

“We hope to increase awareness about the local impact of the decision to rescind DACA,” said Becca Tally, co-chair of SIIRP. “We want to raise awareness of how students and community members can advocate for those affected by the DACA.”


The government is no longer accepting new applications for DACA, which shielded young immigrants from deportation. It was created by President Barack Obama in 2012 and protected about 800,000 undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Earlier this month, Trump passed responsibility to Congress to create a more permanent legislative solution within six months, which left many DACA recipients in the community — 26 of whom attend SIU —  uncertain of their fate.

“We want to support them and work beside them,” Tally said.

During the discussion, Tally said student activists will share personal stories about the program, immigration, campus organizing and how to get involved.

“We hope to see students, but community members are also welcome,” Tally said. “The students we have worked with are strongly committed to advocating for DACA students.”

Among the panelists will be immigration attorney Diane Speir of Murphysboro, who will give give a “know your rights” presentation along with a history of DACA. Natalie Long, the chair of the immigrant rights project, will discuss the causes behind mass migration as well as how to join local organizing efforts.

Hispanic/Latino Resource Center director Rene Poitevin will moderate the event. Some panelists will be available to answer questions after the event and it is open to the public.


Staff writer Francois Gatimu can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @frankDE28.

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