“When I look to the future, there’s a lot of uncertainty,” says Lyra Kim, an undergraduate student of political science at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
“With the immigration policy the way it is right now, there’s a lot of constant fear about, ‘What will I have to spend my money on next, and will that take away from things that I need to survive, like rent and food?’”
With the administration of President Donald Trump peddling anti-immigration rhetoric, many international students in the United States are understandably anxious about what changes in policy might hold for their futures.
Proposed changes include ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme introduced under Obama which shields “dreamers” who came to the US illegally as children from deportation.
This could potentially upend the lives of 800,000 thousand young people across America, including around 600-700 UCLA students.
The #UCLAForAll fundraising campaign, which began on April 5, aims to raise $50,000 by May 7 to support course materials, housing, food and support services for undocumented and international members of its student body.
It had already gathered around $10,000 only a few days after being launched.
“What I want for all our students is for you to be successful — to study, to have successful careers — and not to have to worry about other things in your life that you shouldn’t have to worry about,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.
“For years we’ve known these students have had unmet needs on campus, and these drastic immigration changes further challenge our students,” said Abel Valenzuela, professor of Chicana and Chicano studies and special adviser on the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Immigration Policy.
Join us in supporting the #UCLAForAll campaign to ensure campus remains a safe, supportive, and a welcoming academic space by providing critical financial support to immigrant and international students and scholars in these uncertain times. https://t.co/k9sWhCfEuV pic.twitter.com/YYTDwCoacz
— UCLA Latino Staff & Faculty Association (@LSFA_UCLA) April 6, 2018
“We also want to encourage you to donate and to spread the word with your social networks. We need a large crowd to meet and hopefully surpass our fundraising goals,” Valenzuela said.
According to the university, money will be used to offer support services and directed to scholarship and tuition assistance, including UCLA’s Undocumented Student Program.
University of California leaders have previously asserted their commitment to supporting undocumented members of their campus communities, and last year announced it would sue the Trump administration for violating the rights of their students.