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How to support DACA students

Two upcoming Immigrant Services Program trainings are designed to inform, empower and build a stronger campus community.

By Lindsey Coulter

September 3, 2019

Students walking down tree-covered sidewalk on Auraria Campus.Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Immigrant Services Program and other campus groups offer a wealth of support for Dreamers, Roadrunners with Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals or undocumented status. This includes a variety of workshops, trainings and professional-development opportunities to help faculty, staff and peers become allies — as well as opportunities for DACA students to build community and find related resources.

Most DACA students are first-generation students who are often unfamiliar with the University application process, accessing financial aid, connecting with advisors and the like. They also may not be aware of tutoring, counseling or academic-appeals supports and may feel apprehensive about seeking help or completing certain paperwork. In response, says Immigrant Services Program Director Gregor Mieder, faculty, staff and peers can help create a welcoming environment.

“Language used in the classroom, signage or syllabus disclaimers can go a long way to signal that our campus is safe, informed and welcoming to immigrant and undocumented students,” Mieder said.

The next step in becoming an ally is becoming informed and empowered.

Since immigration law and practice is complex and fast-changing, staying up to date about on- and off-campus resources — and the legal environment that immigrants face — is a great way to assist DACA students,” Mieder said.

Physical detentions and deportations can happen almost anywhere at any time, including on or near campus. Knowing how to react if you, someone you know or a bystander is questioned or detained is an important life skill and may ensure that all individuals are aware of and can exercise their rights.

“This is especially important as detentions are often chaotic and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers do not consistently follow their own procedures,” Mieder added. “For example, warrants required for an arrest are not consistently used or may be incomplete.”

Get informed and learn more about supporting DACA and Dreamer students by taking advantage of these upcoming professional-development opportunities:

Immigrant Resource Fair

Sept. 26

Noon-7 p.m.

Center for Multicultural Excellence and Inclusion (JSSB 237)

Dreamer and DACA attendees can meet with immigration attorneys and access medical, financial-aid, and other resources while also building community over some pizza. There will also be a DACA renewal workshop, including a raffle for more than 20 DACA renewal grants, available to MSU Denver students and community members.

Faculty, staff and peer allies can attend a Know Your Rights Training from noon-3 p.m. The training will cover correct procedures, rights and responsibilities as well as best strategies to ensure that ICE does not overstep its authority. 


Dec. 6

11 a.m.-4 p.m.

TIV 444

This four-hour informational and activities-based workshop educates participants about the realities, challenges and resources available to undocumented students. Developed by undocumented students and the advocacy group United We Dream, it centers on professional development and gives faculty, staff and peers an opportunity to hear from an underrepresented student population whose voice often goes unheard.

Topics: Community, Events, Student Success

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