SPOKANE, Wash. – About 19,000 students in Washington are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy.
The Trump administration on Tuesday started winding down an Obama-era immigration program. By Wednesday, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a multi-state lawsuit over the decision.
Catalina Corvalan is a DACA recipient from Whitworth University. She said even though President Trump wants to get rid of it, she will continue to fight for other young people just like her. She has called Seattle home for 10 years but was born in Chile. At 9-years-old her parents made the decision to move to the U.S. in search of a brighter future but as undocumented immigrants.
“It's a journey with a lot of shut doors, especially for someone coming here wanting to find opportunities to rise, to contribute to society and fulfill the dreams,” said Corvalan.
When Corvalan got the news she qualified for DACA, she was ecstatic. From there, she began to pave her own path.
“Right away I started interning at a cancer research center, I really wanted to take advantage of everything that was given to me," Corvalan explained. “I was able to find Whitworth, I was able to feel confidently enough to actually look for opportunities for myself.”
As Co-President of the Spokane Dream Project club on campus she aspires to be a voice for those who can't speak out for themselves.
“It’s not an easy subject for us to talk about, again coming out of the shadows is hard enough as it is,” she said.
Even with the news that the Trump administration will phase out the DACA program she has a plan and a clear message.
“We are here we have worked, we pay taxes, we are in institutions, we speak English, and we want a permanent legislative measure,” she explained.
She said she has no fear of deportation because of the strong support she feels at Whitworth.
“I am privileged to be at a campus that has stood with the undocumented community. It really goes to show you that there are so many brilliant minds out there that are being limited by a simple social security number,” she said.
The President of Whitworth University along with 50 other colleges and universities in Washington have announced that they stand in solidarity with DACA students and are urging Congress to pass legislation that will allow these students to continue contribute to the global competitive environment.