EDINBURG — Around 100 students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley walked out of their classes Thursday, joining a nationwide action to show solidarity with their undocumented peers who face losing their protections from deportation.
Students carrying signs that read “Dreamers Unidos” and “Soy Dreamer, Y Que” walked through the Edinburg campus, chanting “Bailey Escucha, Estamos en La Lucha,” referring to UTRGV president Guy Bailey.
Two months ago the Trump administration said it would begin phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program on March 5, 2018, sending ripples of fear through this university campus in deep South Texas, where about 1,300 students are DACA eligible, more than any other Texas university.
Yet according to Bianca Castro, an 18-year-old psychology major, DACA students have not received university support, leaving many feeling vulnerable.
“Over the past couple of years organizers have urged our administration to help our students, to create a support system, and that has been met with empty promises,” said Castro, who helped organize the walkout. “It comes down to this: how much do you care about your students?”
For its part, UTRGV said the administration supports everyone affiliated with the university. The university has also hosted DACA information sessions and maintains a website that provides resources for DACA and undocumented students.
“As I have stated in previous messages to our campus community, each student, staff, and faculty member who makes up our UTRGV community is an important part of our university family and will be supported regardless of place of birth or citizenship,” Bailey said in a statement. “Diversity, Access, and Inclusion is one of our core university values.”
University organizations and United we Dream, a national immigrant rights organization, rallied students at high schools and universities across Texas and the country to stage walkouts and call Congress act before the end of the year to pass the Dream Act, which would offer the so-called “Dreamers” permanent residency and a path to citizenship. The demonstrators called for Congress to pass the bill without other anti-immigrant legislation measures attached to it.
By Aaron Nelsen for MYSA
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