Undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children by their parents had to prove the following:
• They came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday.
• The had lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007.
• Were younger than age 31 on June 15, 2012.
• Were physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, and at the time of application to DACA.
• Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012.
• Had completed high school or a GED, had been honorably discharged from the armed forces are were enrolled in school.
• Had not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanors or did not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Enrollment in DACA lasted two years and had to be renewed by going through the enrollment process again, at a cost of $500 each time. The fee, not tax dollars, supported the program.
It was a task that was not easy and required patience, said two DACA recipients who are students at Fort Hays State University.
“It’s really time consuming, lots of travelling,” said Angel Barreras, an FHSU junior who grew up in Leoti.
He and his family had to travel three hours to Liberal to complete the process the two times he enrolled.
In addition to the $500 fee each time, Barreras’ family hired a lawyer to help with the process.
“My last application came up to almost $1,000,” he said.
Katherine Hernandez-Barahona, also a junior who grew up in Liberal after her family moved from El Salvador, said once the applications are sent, it’s a waiting game that can take up to three months.
“My sister and I applied at the exact same time, same day of the week. We sent two envelopes within one envelope,” she said.
“My stuff came in on time. Hers didn’t,” she said.
Hernandez-Barahona also spoke of a fellow DACA student at FHSU who had an on-campus job. But when her renewal application took longer than expected, she couldn’t work.
“She went almost a month-and-a-half with no income,” she said.
With DACA rescinded, FHSU is offering support to its students through Diversity and Inclusive Excellence within the Division of Student Affairs and its director, Taylor Kriley.
She and Teresa Clounch, assistant vice president of student affairs and compliance, have been meeting with the university’s legal counsel in anticipation of answering student questions when they come.
“They haven’t had time to formulate questions yet because they’re just trying to process what this means,” Kriley said. “They’re processing their feelings, their thoughts. Their biggest support is each other right now, and they’re really coming together to support each other.”
She noted the Kelly Center, which offers personal counseling, tutoring and other support services, is available to DACA students dealing with those feelings.
The university website also supplies students as well as faculty and staff with information on DACA.
“I think faculty and staff are interested now more than ever, especially the ones I have talked to who have a student that they’ve mentored,” Kriley said.