BY Amanda Sotelo
Texas is known as one of the states with the highest number of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients, which is why Texas State Technical College, which serves more than 200 undocumented students, will focus its Fourth Annual Empowerment Conference on the issue.
This year’s conference, hosted by TSTC’s Student Support Services department, will be held on January 25 at the TSTC Cultural Arts Center from noon to 5 p.m. and is titled: DACA: The Dreamer’s Challenge.
“This issue is one that has had a huge impact in our area and our state,” said Student Support Services Coordinator Patty Flores. “There are so many students who are uncertain about their future in the United States and are lost and confused with how to handle the situation.”
Flores said the goal of the event is to provide the resources DACA recipients, their families, friends and advocates need to make informed and educated decisions about their next steps.
The half-day event will include three speakers: Abraham Diaz, La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) education specialist, Gabriel Sanchez, Texas Rural Aid and Ana Villegas, Villegas Law Office immigration attorney.
Presentations on “DACA and Know Your Rights,” Texas Rural Legal Aid Services and “Be Prepared,” will be presented by the speakers, respectively.
“Our goal is to educate and empower with information,” said Flores. “This isn’t an issue that only affects those who are undocumented. It’s affecting their children and families as well.”
To close this year’s event, the Harlingen High School Drama Department will perform their play, “Tracks: Inspired by Real Events.”
The play is dedicated to those who have suffered on the journey and lost their lives while immigrating to the United States seeking a better life and the American Dream.
The conference, which has touched on other issues such as human trafficking, drugs and cultural awareness, is open and free to the public.
“We encourage everyone from TSTC students, staff and faculty to the community to attend,” said Flores. “This is an issue that hits close to home for many.”
To register and reserve your seat visit Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/2mkbpMX. The last day to register is January 24.
For more information, call TSTC Student Support Services at 956-364-4525.