Photo: Dream Act Rallies were students "came out"
Last summer, many students “came out” as undocumented immigrants but after the failure of the Dream Act in the Senate, these same students are experiencing uncertainty about their future.
Maricela Aguilar, a junior at Marquette, is one of these students. “It’s all about losing that shame of who you are,” said Aguilar, who was born in Mexico but moved to the US when she was 3 years old. She is just one of thousands who “came out” last year who now find themselves in a unique legal situation. After last summer, their status as an undocumented immigrant is public information and now many of these student fear being targeted for deportation.
“If your name is out there immediately attached with ‘undocumented,’ then there is always this fear of being deported,” said Aguilar. However, immigration agents have been told to focus of finding immigrants who have been convicted on criminal charges, and encouraged to use discretion when dealing with students who do not have a criminal past. In fact, when students are apprehended, officials are becoming involved in order to postpone or cancel deportations.
According to Brian P. Hale, the senior spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency “uses discretion on a case by case basis, as appropriate.”