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Undocumented Students and ‘Allies’ Gather After Presidential Election

Courtesy of luc.eduLoyola students show their support for undocumented students.

Since the election of Donald J. Trump, many students feel threatened by his promises to ban Muslims from entering the United States and deport millions of undocumented immigrants. On Nov. 13 Loyola students, faculty and community members gathered on the fourth floor of the Information Commons for an “Undocumented Students and Allies Circle of Support.” There, undocumented students and those who wished to help the undocumented community discussed their feelings after the election of Trump.

“I didn’t want to sit here and talk about solutions, because the only real solution is a lifelong commitment to humanity,” said School of Education assistant professor Aurora Chang, who led the event.

Chang began the discussion with one question: “What’s in your heart now that the election is over?”

One of the first people to speak was Rev. Jim Prehn, S.J., the rector of Loyola’s Jesuit community. Prehn said he came to the event out of concern for what might happen to the undocumented community, and to contribute on behalf of the administration.

“The undocumented community is part of Loyola’s community, and that will not change,” he said.

President-elect Trump has promised to repeal President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), which protects undocumented people who were brought to the United States when they were children from deportation.

One undocumented student, who asked that his name be kept private to protect his immigration status, described a feeling of fear.

“Since I am undocumented, this election put uncertainty in my future,” he said. “DACA being eliminated is unfair. It gave me security: security from not being deported, and also in myself that I am no different from other people. Now,it could be coming to an end. I’m scared of all these changes.”

President-elect Trump has also promised to deport up to three million undocumented immigrants. At the event, another undocumented student said she feels uncertain of what might happen to her and her family.

“We now have to figure out what comes next. My family is preparing to possibly be separated or to have to move to Mexico together,” she said. “I’ve lived here since I was 8 years old, and it’s scary to see the integrity of my country change so quickly.”

As the discussion drew to a close, attendees shared a message of hope.

“My parents came here to build a better life. They sacrificed their safety to cross the border and make it here, and it’s scary to think that the election turned out the way it did,” said one undocumented student. “But if Trump wants to build that wall, we will tear it right back down. They couldn’t stop us before, and they won’t stop us now.”

At the end of the event, professor Chang charged those students who “are white and have the privilege that so many don’t” with taking initiative.

“In the presence of you all today, I fully commit myself to laying my life on the line for all of my undocumented family and brothers and sisters,” she said. “I think that we need to look within ourselves to ask what can we do and stop relying on other people to do the work we need to do ourselves. Stop looking to the people who are oppressed for answers.”

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