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College offers special workshops, events for freshman Dreamers

A community college in California held a day of workshops for Dreamers — illegal immigrants who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — who were looking to learn more about their immigration rights and what the college has to offer them. (Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images)

A community college in California hosted a Dreamers Welcome Day on Saturday that provided workshops for illegal immigrants who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Campus Reform reported Wednesday.

Under the DACA plan, which began under the Obama administration, children who were brought to the United States illegally could apply for their deportation status to be deferred for two years. If approved, they are provided a work permit and must reapply every two years. To qualify, Dreamers must have been under the age of 31 as of June 2012, come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, consistently lived in the U.S. from June 2007 to present, have been pursuing an education or received a GED, and not have a felony or certain misdemeanors.

The Dreamers Club at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California, provided freshman Dreamers with information on how classes are conducted and the resources available to them on campus. Immigration lawyers also spoke to students about immigration policy and arrest, the school's Talan Remarks newspaper reported.

This was the first time the college conducted an all-day event geared toward helping Dreamers. The college has had sporadic workshops in the past.

According to Cerritos College President President Karen Patron, this event will become an annual practice. She noted that a number of people who attended have been students for more than one semester and didn't know what resources were available to them, the Talon Remarks said.

Freshman Mesenia Jimenez attended the event to learn more about applying for AB 510, which provides illegal immigrants with in-state tuition and financial aid assistance.

According to a December letter from the California Student Aid Commission, "a Dreamer student doesn't need to be DACA-certified to be eligible for a public education or state financial aid. Losing DACA status will not effect most state aid."

Jimenez told the Talon Remarks that she came to the United States when she was 4 years old and went through California's public school system. When it came time to apply for college, she thought it would be difficult with her immigration status but the information she received at the event was valuable.

“I’ve been getting a lot of help today. I’ve been helped applying for the AB application,” she said.

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