The Skyline View

Skyline College supports fearful students regarding ICE raids

Illustration by Fabiano Rodriguez

Illustration by Fabiano Rodriguez

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In the Trump era, many decisions being made in Congress are affecting immigrant students nationwide. Community members are living in constant fear, and it is important to know that there are services provided by Skyline College.

Recently, there has been word that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are going to many Bay Area businesses questioning the employees’ citizenship.

San Francisco is a sanctuary city which typically means that the city employees do not cooperate with ICE or question a person immigration status.

Due to recent sweeps, many have hidden out or have had to deal with additional stress in both the workplace and school.

All three colleges in the San Mateo County Community College District have been declared a “safe haven,” by The Board of Trustees.

There are multiple resources available, to Skyline students both on and off campus, such as the DREAM Center, the Paralegal Center and psychological services.

The fact that Skyline is a safe haven does not mean that the fear of students will automatically go away.

Beverly Muse, a Marriage Family Therapy Counselor at Skyline College, shared some information about the emotional stress that students might face while going to school and thinking about possible ICE raids separating their families.

Muse also shared some of the common symptoms found among students that might affect their mental health and education. Of those common symptoms are fear, anxiety, panic, anger, numbness, difficulty sleeping, and decreased appetite.

“Any disruption to one’s sense of family, community, well-being may be experienced as trauma,” Muse said. “Trauma effects both the body and the psyche. Integrating complex information, as in learning, can be negatively impacted, as well as one’s ability to cope and make decisions.”

Workers at the Psychological Services and DREAM Center want immigrant students to know there are places on campus to feel safe.

“Talking to someone trusted can be useful,” Muse said. “We hope they can find a sense of safety and stability with all the uncertainty and anxiety.”

The DREAM Center was brought to Skyline last spring as the college’s need for a place for supporting their undocumented students and community members became in demand.

Pamela Ortiz Cerda, the DREAM Center Coordinator, is been a big proponent of the support system for undocumented students at Skyline. The DREAM Center provides a “one-stop shop” for students while trying to be welcoming.

“I think it is important to know that our students are very resilient and very strong,” Ortiz Cerda said. “It’s hard not to have any fears, I think, even folks that aren’t undocumented fear this administration, because of the way they have made their existence towards immigrants, towards people of color, towards LGBTQ people.”

Ortiz Cerda also went on to explain that while that it is unavoidable to fear raids.

“While there are fears,” Ortiz Cerda said. “The big thing is remembering how to find our resources to help make us prepared, that if these fears come to be.”

Ortiz Cerda shared that one of the many ways to be prepared is for students to have an immigration plan.

Skyline College Alumni, Marc Santamaria, Esq, Ph.D., volunteered in the past to help students renew their DACA status. Now, he is currently helping families all over the world through his law firm.

“You have to be aware of what is going on nationally and politically,” Santamaria said. “Also with what is going on in your community on with your community of possible raids.”

Santamaria, like Ortiz Cerda, shared that with awareness comes preparedness. He stressed the importance of families having plans before anything happens.

“We have to prepare for any kind of immigration issue,” Santamaria said. “They should have a family preparedness plan, as well as a red card.”

A Red Card explains an immigrant’s rights under the Constitution. This card is intended for people to know how to defend themselves.

The Puente Learning Community, is on campus and brings focus to Chicano/Latino literature and writings, as well as other resources. Students in the program, James Lopez, Johan Lopez, and Darian Arevalo all shared why immigration issues are important to them.

“If they (ICE) take them away from us,” Arevalo said. “I am the oldest son, I have to be the mom and the dad taking care of my younger sister.”

The Puentistas, have their Puente Community on campus, but they mentioned they didn’t seek out additional resources on campus. All three students shared their stories and commonly feel they don’t have any form of immigration plans. The students have shared their fears, but families of these students have tried not to stress about possible future problems by focusing on what’s happening now.

“We have been here for a while, we have been working hard,” Arevelo said. “We have been working two jobs, and it is not fair that they are sending us back to the countries where nobody has anything anymore.”

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The student news site of Skyline College.
Skyline College supports fearful students regarding ICE raids