Undocupeer training held for students
Tamonda Griffiths – News Writer
Connecticut Students for a Dream (C4D) returned to campus last week to provide Undocupeers Training to resident advisors and orientation ambassadors.
The objective of the program was for attendees to understand the experience of being undocumented, denounce the myths about undocumented people, and learn to be an ally to their undocumented peers.
“Expect and accept discomfort and non-disclosure,” said Mirka Dominguez-Salinas, a member of C4D.
Dominguez-Salinas, a Southern alumna, said she spoke with a professor a day after the 2016 election, who connected her with the organization.
“I want people to push themselves outside of what they’re being fed through
the media,” Dominguez- Salinas said, “and see the humanity in all people.”
The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States is about 11.3 million. In the state of Connecticut, there are about 108,000 undocumented people.
About 17,000 are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, 28 percent of which are enrolled in school.
According to a diagram created by the Reason Foundation, the current U.S. immigration system has specific criteria that varies with each new case and can take a minimum of six to seven years.
Stefan Keller, college access program manager for C4D said at the start of the century there “were no immigration laws” until 1924 when laws became more restrictive to “anyone that wasn’t from Northern or Southern Europe.”
Those laws lasted for 40 years.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, why didn’t you come here like my parents did’” said
Keller. “My great- grandparents came from Italy when there were no immigration laws, if they tried to come today, they would never get in here [the United States].”
Keller said as a U.S. citizen the struggles and process of immigration are not something that the general population thinks about daily.
“A lot of times people don’t know what’s happening, which allows those things to happen,” said Keller. “This system is not set up to treat people like humans.”
Mike Burek, a resident advisor for Hickerson Hall, said he had no idea what to expect.
“It never was really a thought to me that there are that many students who go through this and feel this way,” he said.
Burek said he spoke with fellow Resident Advisor Emilie Ganan, who attended the program last year, about what to expect going to the training.
“I feel like that was an entry-level to the idea since I was exposed to
it since I was little,” said Ganan. “I think it was a good program for people, who like Mike, don’t have that background or exposure to it.”
Photo Credit: Tamonda Griffiths