Challenging borders conference brings awareness to undocumented students

Briana Osuna, Student Life Reporter


UC Riverside is hosting a conference to discuss current research on undocumented students in higher education, with CSUSM professor Dr. Marisol Clark-Ibanez as one of the nine speakers.

“[The Challenging Borders conference] is for academics, students and any practitioners or educators to come together and learn all the dimensions of undocumented immigration,” said Ibanez.

Ibanez will be speaking about the later chapters in her book entitled “Undocumented Latino Youth: Navigating Their Worlds,” which expands on what undocumented students go on to do after graduation.

“On one hand you’re so proud that you came, a lot of times you’re the first person in your family to go to college and you made it through, but then you’re graduating and you don’t have your social security and then students fall from a high of graduation and into a very low funk of what some might call depression and think ‘what did I do all this for?’” said Ibanez. “That begins to link to student activism.”

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is one particular form of student activism that will be a topic at the conference.

“It’s like a Band-Aid; it’s one thing to help one set of students. That [help] is to give them a temporary Social Security [card] and work permit. With DACA you have undocumented students who graduate and are working in professional capacities,” said Ibanez.

The term ‘dreamers’ will also be a topic of discussion at the conference. According to the National Immigration Law Center, the Dream Act permits certain students who have been raised in the United States and are attending college to apply for a temporary legal status. These students may eventually be able to obtain US citizenship. However not all undocumented students are able to receive aid from the Dream Act.

“That label, ‘dreamer,’ tends to be exclusionary of folks who don’t fit into Dream legislation, so papers like that, I feel like, are going to bring up very new and interesting developments in the whole field that we’re all a part of,” said Ibanez.

The Challenging Borders conference is a great way for students to become more informed about some of the issues their peers may be facing.

“Any student who reads this article, if you go and work in North County you are going to be working with Latino families and the likelihood is that there is going to be some connection to immigration that’s vulnerable, that’s specialized and that needs hyper awareness of not only compassion but understanding of families’ situations,” said Ibanez.

Students should feel encouraged to attend, whether to gain a better understanding of the issue, discover ways to find support or to get involved in student activism.

“If you’re in a privileged place to not have to think about immigration status, then you may not know that these are the challenges that young people and families are going through,” said Ibanez.

The Challenging Borders conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23 at UC Riverside.