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Navigating DACA from DACA-scholars' perspectives

Updated: Jan 30

Introduction By: Sophia Rodriguez, University of Maryland, College Park

Guest Blogger: Alonso Reyna Rivarola, Salt Lake Community College

November 15 2022

A few weeks ago, we reflected upon the impact of DACA on the lives and educational futures of undocumented youth. We have learned how the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals partially affirmed the lower court’s decision that determined DACA unlawful; however, Biden initiated the final rule in an attempt to protect over 600,000 DACA recipients living and flourishing in the U.S. In this week’s blog, Alonso Reyna Rivarola, Senior Director for Institutional Equity, Inclusion and Transformation at Salt Lake Community College, offers expertise on the educational opportunities and rights that DACA affords and the implications of terminating the program.

Alonso R. Reyna Rivarola and Dr. Felecia Russell, two undocumented immigrant educators and scholars with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), discussed their experiences with the recent court case rulings concerning DACA and the Biden Administration Final Rule. In their reflection, the authors used words like “anxious,” “exhausted,” “numb,” and “tired” to describe their relationship with the program and the legal terrorism it ensues (citation below).

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By Alonso Reyna Rivarola

In addition to echoing words that represent their current relationship with the unstable program, they paid attention to the impact of DACA on their professional lives as undocumented immigrant educators. The authors stressed the importance of providing space to emphasize the lives of undocumented immigrant educators with DACA and their experience with the program's instability. After all, the murkiness of the legal trepidations of DACA affects students and professionals alike (see also Reyna Rivarola et al., 2022 for another reflection of undocumented immigrant educators in higher education).

The topic of the future of DACA is one that the authors confronted with nuance and uneasiness. It is unclear whether DACA will continue or dissolve; however, the anxiety it produces is palpable among its beneficiaries. The authors urge higher education institutions to create contingency plans for their employees with DACA and offer resources for current beneficiaries and opportunities for community-building among current undocumented immigrant employees with and without DACA.

Finally, the authors conclude with words of wisdom for undocumented immigrants with and without DACA and a reflection for non-undocumented immigrant educators and scholars. For undocumented immigrants with and without DACA: (1) identify spaces where you can share your story; it’s liberating, and (2) papers will never define you as our liberation should not be bound to our documentation. The prompt for non-undocumented immigrants who identify as allies; “How are you re/affirming your commitments to undocumented immigrants with and without DACA when nobody is watching?” (p. 151).


Reyna Rivarola, A. R., Valdivia Ordorica, D., Bohórquez García, L., & Cisneros, J. (2022, March 14). UndocuSAPro reflections on the DREAM Act. NASPA Knowledge Community Publication, 77-79.

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Suggested Citation: Rodriguez, S. & Reyna Rivarola, A.R., (2022, November 15). Revisiting DACA and its impact on undocumented communities. Immigrant Ed Next.

Copyright © 2022: Sophia Rodriguez, Immigrant Ed Next-All Rights Reserved

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