Senior communication major Emmanuel Quiroz wanted to know if he and other DACA students could count on the new UTSA president to support them. So, Quiroz asked Eighmy that question in a letter sent on Sept. 4.

“I am not asking you to take a political stance on this issue. I am asking you to stand behind your students. I am asking you to publicly acknowledge us, present us with resources and stand with us as we hear the news and prepare for the outcome of this decision,” Quiroz wrote.

DACA can help provide recipients with work permits, access to financial assistance for college tuition, and a state driver’s license. For DACA recipients, the ending of the program would mean the ending of their stay in America, a measure the recipients are working diligently to prevent.

“I wrote the letter to our president to make sure that he stands next to those who aren’t afraid to share their stories as well as those who are afraid and intimidated. I want to make sure that he publicly acknowledges all of us,” Quiroz said.

Quiroz is one of the 800,000 DREAMers in the United States and just one of the several DACA recipients attending UTSA. The Monterrey, Mexico native plans to use his education to mentor at-risk youth.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to help people, especially our youth,” said Quiroz. Quiroz exemplifies his passion for helping at-risk youth through participating in many organizations at UTSA, one being Immigrant Youth Leadership (IYL), a student organization founded by DACA students. Immigrant Youth Leadership and other organizations arranged meetings with President Eighmy to discuss his plans for DACA students.

“I wanted to keep our close relationship with administration,” said Immigrant Youth Leadership Coordinator Andrea Fernandez. The day after Quiroz addressed the UTSA president (Sept. 5), Eighmy released a statement responding to the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA.

“We will be working closely, in coordination with community partners, to bring support and provide resources to our own DACA students and DACA students throughout San Antonio,” Eighmy wrote. A majority of UTSA students reacted positively to Eighmy’s statement; Quiroz was happy to have some of his concerns addressed in the president’s statements.

“I’m excited to work with President Eighmy and to know that he’s there for all of our DACA students,” said Quiroz. One week after Eighmy’s official statement, IYL and other groups attempted to arrange meetings with Eighmy. As of this printing, no meetings between UTSA’s president and the groups have taken place.

“I want to believe everything is in good faith,” said Fernandez. “Most of the fear we have stems from the fact that Eighmy is coming from a very conservative campus (University of Tennessee, Knoxville). I want to know what his plans are.”

IYL has pledged to continue fighting for and with DACA students.

UTSA is hosting a DACA renewal and legal services clinic September 23 at 10:00 a.m.

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