UCSB Hosts Immigration Awareness Week

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Jasmine Moreno

The Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity teamed up with the Undocumented Student Services and the MultiCultural Center to host UCSB’s 2018 Immigration Awareness Week.

A variety of events took place over the week of Jan. 22, beginning with an Art Workshop at the Monarch Lounge and concluding with a presentation on immigration policies by University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center Managing Attorney, Vivek Mittal.

The week was designed to raise awareness of immigration to the community, as well as provide education on present laws and rights, USS coordinator Diana Valdivia said. “We always have a component around art, the component of building community and the piece around giving people information,” Valdivia said.

The five events spanning over the week were open to faculty and other community members in order to promote involvement and edification.  

Tuesday’s panel on intersectional immigration was proclaimed a highlight of the week by Valdivia, who commented on the importance of “letting folks know immigration is not just an issue that affects Latino communities.”

Wednesday featured a film screening titled Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America, followed by a Q&A with the film’s star, Moises Serrano. “Folks were asking questions around hope and just really engaged with the person in the film,” said Valdivia, who facilitated the session.

The final two days of Immigration Awareness informed the community of current immigration policies. Mittal, who leads the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center, hosted presentations on recent modifications to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Dreamers, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The UC Immigrant Legal Services Center is based out of the University of California, Davis and provides immigration services to students and families across the UC system. Mittal said the Resource Center offers consultation, education, and support.

Mittal also presented a section dedicated to rights and how to handle several common scenarios with enforcement. He provided slides with concrete photo examples of legitimate warrants to educate the audience on what to look for.

Mittal concluded with a slide on UC’s unique “sanctuary” policies. Under the UC Statement of Principles, University of California Police Department (UCPD) may not abide with Immigration and Customs Enforcment (ICE) unless required by law. Student privacy rights are considered a priority by the UC’s Office of the President.

At this event, Valdivia showed informative cards which state an undocumented individuals’ rights. Several hundred more of these cards were ordered and will be available on campus in the near future.

The Thomas Fire and mudslides created new challenges for this year’s functions. According to Valdivia, several events were postponed to spring.

Among these events is UndocuMonologues, an event in which undocumented students express their experiences through forms of art including dance, spoken word, and more.

In regards to the future, Valdivia advised individuals to connect with other immigrants in order to build community and to remain up-to-date with ever-changing policies and rights.