San Diego, CALIF.- In an effort to educate, inform, and help young immigrants navigate changes that might be coming from President-elect Donald Trump’s immigration policies, Alliance San Diego has launched a video and outreach campaign, "Rising Together." The purpose of the campaign is to help immigrants decide what to do before Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20.
Trump has promised to make changes to President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. That’s the program benefiting thousands of young immigrants.
Obama’s program has given deportation relief and temporary work permits to those who arrived in the U.S. illegally before the age of 16.
In some cases, it has also given them financial aid for school. One of those students to take advantage of the program is Itzel Guillen, a DACA recipient since 2013. Guillen is part of the outreach program and employed at Alliance San Diego. Guillen told IVN San Diego, “The DACA program has made my dreams come true.”
A senior at San Diego State University, Guillen is pursuing a Political Science degree. As for Trump, Guillen noted, “The president-elect has threatened to kill the DACA program. That’s a scary thought for myself and the thousands of immigrants who benefit from the program.”
Last month, Trump's transition team asked the Department of Homeland Security if the biographic information of immigrants had been altered in any way "out of concern for their civil liberties.”
News raised questions about whether the request was tied to plans to use that information to deport DACA recipients. In the past, administrative programs like DACA have never been used as a base for deportation.
Still, Trump also noted in a New York Times interview in early December, his administration wouldn’t separate families if those DACA recipients hadn’t been convicted of a criminal act in the United States.
Long-time immigrant activist in San Diego and Washington, D.C., Christian Ramirez is working with Alliance San Diego on the DACA outreach campaign. Ramirez told IVN San Diego, “We're taking the lead in San Diego County without a doubt." Ramirez added, “We’re taking a proactive stance by talking with local, state, and federal authorities to make certain our immigrant population in California is protected. We’re taking this step no matter what happens.”
The campaign is advising immigrants to explore permanent immigration programs. Alliance San Diego notes 15 percent of the undocumented population in San Diego County qualifies for immigration programs such as the U-Visa, for immigrants who are victims of crimes, or the Violence Against Women Act.
The Alliance San Diego campaign includes countywide information sessions at education centers, faith centers, health centers, and more.
Immigrants can also call a new hotline at (619) 363-3423.