As there continues to be a rise in COVID-19 cases, uncertainty of what will happen next has caused overwhelming fears for many, especially those who are undocumented.
Stan State’s Diversity Center holds “Diversi-Tea Talks” on their Instagram with Dreamer’s Project Coordinator Polet Hernandez to discuss and answer questions regarding fears and anxieties that undocumented students and their families may have during these times of uncertainty.
Through the virtual space, Undocumented Student Services have been unraveling nonstop fears by finding ways to stay connected through coping strategies and resources.
Hernandez explained the different layers of challenges undocumented students face during the pandemic that have been addressed in the virtual meetings.
Without any documentations, students are not able to receive the emergency benefits from the U.S government.
“If we lose our income, we are not able to apply for unemployment. There are limited resources for those without status,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez reveals the harsh reality for this particular population.
“We never ask for help because, if we expose who we are, we fear for our families,” explained Hernandez.
Hernandez believes that, even if undocumented people have been exposed to the virus, they’re too afraid to go to the hospitals because of a lack of insurance.
There has been an increase in undocumented students who are in search of help and access to health care, though.
Unfortunately, not all students are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to actually seek that help.
“One of the students that reached out to me, I found out she's not a DACA recipient. Her parents are both undocumented and they all lost their jobs," Hernandez said. She explains that these people have no bank accounts, no resources for food, and no social status.
Hernandez guides many students to different resources on campus such as “Campus Cares” and “Basic Needs”. These resources can be used to help an entire household.
The Undocumented Student Services also released a recent newsletter with tips on how to cope during COVID-19 while being undocumented.
Tips to help with anxiety include reading books by undocu-artists and watching Youtube channels from undocumented content creators. This can include easy arts and crafts projects.
Despite transitioning through a pandemic, the DACA decision from the Supreme Court is currently expected to come by June, but can be released at any time between now and then.
“Renew DACA as soon as possible. We want to help and we do have the funding. We want to make sure we are supporting students through the legal side and want to make sure we take care of the emotional needs to all students,” said Hernandez.
The Undocumented Student Services will continue providing legal assistance and guidance for undocumented students and their families over the phone and via virtual. For more information please visit https://www.csustan.edu/dreamers or call (209)667-3529.