The City of Hollister and San Benito County recently passed resolutions in support of the immigration program referred to as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
“The immigration issue throughout the United States and locally in Hollister and San Benito County is no fault of children that were brought here when they were very small, very young,” said Hollister Councilwoman Mickie Luna during Monday’s meeting. “Today, looking at the population in the City of Hollister, it’s pretty close to over 60 percent Latino. It’s not just Latinos. The immigrant community of children are not just Latinos and we want to make sure that people understand that.”
The program, which began in 2012, enables eligible undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children to work legally and remain in the country without fear of deportation. Over 200,000 young people in California are protected under DACA and there are an estimated 840,000 recipients in the entire country.
“Looking at San Benito County, you can see the diversity and I applaud diversity,” Luna said. “So, I asked this be on the agenda because I believe the City of Hollister is the last city in the region and county to actually adopt such a resolution that is only supporting all the children in the City of Hollister attending our schools.”
The San Benito County Board of Supervisors passed a similar resolution at their September 26 meeting.
“The issue of this policy of DACA is really a byproduct of our hyper-partisan political system in the United States,” Supervisor Robert Rivas said. “In my opinion, it’s very easy to get behind and support a policy such as DACA. Why wouldn’t we want to welcome immigrants who are going to be in our country to work hard?”
In addition to being a county supervisor, Rivas works at San Benito High School.
“When the current administration announced they would be ending this policy, I had lines of children outside my office door in tears out of fear that they didn’t know what was going to happen to them. That’s why I think this is important.”
Rivas said while DACA is important, real comprehensive immigration reform is still needed.
“Don’t get me wrong: we need to defend DACA as a policy and the ideas it represents, while also pushing for permanent and legal protections for all undocumented immigrants.”
Supervisor Anthony Botelho agreed.
“The statement was well done and that hits it right on the nail,” Botelho said. “The failures of the federal government and to an extent the state government as far as polarizing our communities is reprehensible. I certainly would like to see immigration reform. I don’t want to see people deported.”