Long Beach

“We find it twice as difficult as anyone else.” A former LBCC student shares her undocumented experience. – Long Beach, California

Long Beach, California 2020-11-22 00:38:03 –

Photo illustration by Rene Trujillo.

Ivon Vargas, a former LBCC student, was told by a high school counselor that he couldn’t go to college because it wasn’t documented.

Vargas, who is graduating from the University of California, Irvine this spring, said the experience was disappointing.

She wasn’t presented with the right tools to move directly from high school to a four-year college, forcing her to find her own resources to pursue higher education.

According to Vargas, it was difficult to decide who she could talk to in order to help her in the way she needed to continue her schooling.

The average number of undocumented students at Long Beach City College is about 650 out of the approximately 24,000 enrolled students.

This is more than 99% of students who cannot relate to or understand the experience of being an undocumented student.

Mr. Vargas said that the experience of being an undocumented student is “rewarding because he finds it twice as difficult as anyone else. Being a first generation and undocumented is not. , It’s a challenge in itself. “

“First generation” is a term often used by family members who have graduated from high school or college for the first time.

When President Trump announced he wanted to end DACA, Vargas said: “I thought it didn’t make sense to get a DACA because I had to do an entire background check, so that doesn’t mean we’re bad people.”

“I’m disappointed when someone tells me I can’t go to school anymore,” Vargas said.

Not only did undocumented students face the potential reality of DACA not being updated, but the pandemic deprived them of many opportunities to celebrate their graduation.

Graduation from college is the first milestone celebrated for generations for many undocumented students.

Regarding her time at the LBCC, Vargas said: “I got the right source at LBCC because it got in the way of me finding it. I wish there were more events that would make students aware of the resources available and inform them about the DREAM Service Center. I think. “

LBCC offers a DREAM service to support AB540 and undocumented students.

“Our main focus is to serve, support and advocate for the academic, professional and personal growth and success of all undocumented students at Long Beach City College.” Please read the DREAM service website.

Many undocumented students struggle with not knowing who is on their side and who can ask for help.

In the case of Vargas, she turned to LBCC Spanish professor Veronica Alvarez for help. He introduced her to the DREAM service, which was in its infancy at the time.

“Ivon represents the vast majority of LBCC students, the motivated and determined students,” said Jose Gutierrez, LBCC DREAM Services Coordinator.

“She appeared and existed even when things went wrong. It’s an honor to be able to help and help students like Ivon,” said Gutierrez.

This year, the LBCC offered its students Undocu Ally training for the first time. Previously, training was for faculty and staff only.

Vargas helped co-present one of the past Undocu Ally trainings to faculty and staff. The event helped Gutierrez lead the LBCC.

“When I hear my own personal story as an undocumented student, someone can empathize and empathize. It’s powerful and I feel that training makes a difference.” Vargas said.

Now that Vice President Biden has become president-elect, Vargas said: I am very blessed and happy that he has won. “

Vargas celebrated with her sister, who is also an undocumented student.

“My hopes and dreams are all happy endings, and now I can see them,” Vargas said.

Vargas referred to the Spanish phrase “Querer is poder”. This is a general phrase that means “where there is a will, there is a way.”

Vargas said: “If you need something, I definitely believe you can do it. You can do it, regardless of your race, ethnicity, or status.”

Click here for more information on LBCC’s DREAM service.

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