Education leaders, organizations, and families gathered in the community room of the Paso Robles Housing Authority on March 6 to offer information and support on immigration.
Cuesta College clubs Dreamers United and the Latino Leadership Network had booths for current and incoming students. Rise SLO and Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County were also in attendance. The biggest topic of the night covered by all entities was Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
DACA is an executive order signed by former President Barack Obama that allowed undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country before the age of 16 to apply for two-year work permits—that could be renewed indefinitely. The program temporarily shields thousands of young adults from deportation.
The program was scheduled to end on March 5 but court orders have forced the Trump administration to continue issuing renewals.
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal's (D-Santa Barbara) representative Erika Reyes said that although the DACA program is continuing, how long it will last is unclear.
"We've seen that with this Congress right now, they are not able to come to a compromise with DACA itself," Reyes said.
While the timeline of the program is in limbo she is encouraging individuals with a DACA status that's set to expire to renew their application.
"That at least gives another window to be able to continue to go to school, continue to work, and stay with your families," Reyes said.
The DACA program is not accepting first-time applicants.
James Brescia, superintendent of the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education opened the March 6 meeting by talking—in English and Spanish—about the safety of his students.
Brescia said he's had inquiries about birth certificates. A birth certificate is needed when children are enrolled in school to verify their identity and age. Brescia said that school offices in the county are not keeping the birth certificate or copies of the certificate.
"All the schools are doing it for the protection of the students," he said.