College of the Desert’s president and superintendent Monday urged students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to renew their DACA status before the federal renewal deadline early next month.

The Trump administration is moving to rescind the program, which protected an estimated 800,000 children who were illegally brought into the United States by their parents. DACA recipients can renew their enrollment if they apply before Oct. 5.

COD President and Superintendent Joel L. Kinnamon said DACA students at the college’s campuses in Palm Desert, Indio, Thermal and Desert Hot Springs have the support of school administrators and should renew their status before the deadline.

“These are our students. These are our friends. These are our neighbors. These are outstanding people who we interact with every day. They deserve nothing less than our respect and support,” Kinnamon said.

“Every College of the Desert student of every background is here to learn and we are here to educate them,” he said. “We will continue to encourage them to pursue their educational goals and we assure them that College of the Desert continues to be a safe and welcoming institution of higher learning for the success of 100 percent of its students.”

Kinnamon’s statements were in line with remarks made by other state education officials, including Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor for the California Community College System composed of 114 colleges, including COD.

“Although we are discouraged by the news, we remain committed to serving and supporting all students, regardless of immigration status, and seeing that they reach their full potential. We will stand with our students, and we will not give into fear,” the chancellor said.

DACA students can seek $495 scholarships from San Francisco-based nonprofit Mission Asset Fund to aid in paying renewal fees. Those with questions or concerns are encouraged to visit College of the Desert’s counseling office.

–City News Service

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