Earlier this year, Northern Essex Community College joined a growing number of colleges and universities across the country in the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a collaborative effort dedicated to increasing public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses and communities, and to supporting policies that create a welcoming environment for immigrant, undocumented and international students on our campuses.

The diversity of our student body is one of Northern Essex Community College’s greatest assets.   As New England’s first designated Hispanic Serving Institution, nearly 65% of the students on our Lawrence Campus and 40% of students across the entire college are Latinx, most with family roots in the Dominican Republic.

We know that some of our students arrived in the United States as children with undocumented parents or family members.  Although they are not officially citizens, they have lived most of their lives here and identify as Americans.  By focusing on their education, they are working hard to achieve the American dream.  We commend them for that, and are proud to have them as part of our campus community.

In recent years, these students have been allowed to pursue education and work under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).  That program, as we all know, is in peril, and there is a lot that remains to be determined regarding the future of undocumented students as elected officials work toward some kind of legislative compromise.

While the future of DACA remains uncertain, as of now DACA students continue to have the opportunity to apply for DACA renewal.

I strongly urge our DACA students to do so as quickly as possible.

Please see the resources below for additional helpful information.  We are also currently organizing a forum on DACA, featuring Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, for our students in the fall.

If you have any questions regarding DACA, please contact Tina Favara, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at tfavara@necc.mass.edu or 978 556-3720, or Analuz Garcia, Assistant Director of Community and International Relations at agarcia@necc.mass.edu or 978 738-7423.

 

Important Information about DACA Requests:

Due to federal court orders, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has again begun accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA. USCIS is not accepting requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA.  For more information, visit Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Response to January 2018 Preliminary injunction.

 

Who Can File for Renewal of DACA:

You may request renewal of DACA if you met the initial 2012 DACA guidelines and you:

  • Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved;
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors; and
  • Do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

If you previously received DACA and your DACA expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016, you may still file your DACA request as a renewal request.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

America is a nation of immigrants, and our continued prosperity relies on a fair and humanitarian immigration system.  For additional perspective on NECC’s policies, procedures, and student protections, see my previous column, “Immigration and Higher Education,” and please share with your networks.