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Chester Progressive
Chester , California
November 1, 2017     Chester Progressive
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November 1, 2017

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Chester Progressive, Westwood PinePress Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017 3A Vittoria Metcalf parents, who don't have a Staff Writer similar program, can't return toMexico either because there's a big chance they Two Plumas County teens won't be allowed to return. don't remember the Slipping back across the grandparents that the border might not be possible. parents talk about, or a house Until the past few months where they lived or the they've felt relatively safe countryside around their from deportation. Now, with hometown in Mexico. the stroke of President They don't remember the Trump's pen and a few flight to Tijuana made with discouraging words, they feel their mother and the they've been put on notice. If all-important journey across Tk-ump's proposed the border that meant jobs, elimination of DACA is schooling and a better way of approved by Congress, the life in the United States. world they know could They don't remember change drastically. traveling with only the They live in fear. The only clothes on their backs or the time Cynthia really feels safe fear their mother felt as she is at school, she said. Schools traveled into the unknown can be declared sanctuaries with only a dream. She had and those within the Plumas the peso equivalent of $100 in Unified School District are her pocket -- a lot of money, safe havens. School districts in one respect, but so little for throughout the United States the demands along the way have the option to choose to and in her new country, become safe havens. And They don't remember how many do, especially in difficult it might have been California. Federal agents for their mother to manage can lie in wait for an two very young children or immigrant student to leave sensed how afraid she was as campus and pluck them up, Coyotes took them across the but there's nothing they can border. Coyote, or coyotaje, is do when a student is inside the term used for those who the building. deal in human smuggling. Because local public Those who use their services schools are considered are not only risking capture sanctuaries, instructors and by authorities, but there's the staffmembers receive uncertainty they will reach training every year said their destination alive. Odessie Welch, who works at The children knew nothing Portola High School and has of the exchange of money -- worked with Plumas County $9,000 -- to guide the three as Literacy for nearly 25 years. they walked to the border and If members of ICE across. ---Immigration and Customs Anna's aunts put up the Enforcement-- a branch of money for this journey, the U.S. Department of knowing their family would Homeland Security --: broke have more and better the rules and entered campus, opportunities if they could Welch said she would treat it get to the United States, said in the same manner she Anna, the teens' mother, would an intruder situation. They came as illegals -- no "I would text a parent," she passports, or visas, or green said, "but I'm not going to cards. At some point they allow someone to come and joined their father take the kids." somewhere in California. Portola High School staff And since arriving it's been and instructors are trained in the family's goal to work armed intruder situations hard, learn English, send annually, Welch said. their children to school and "The students' safety is see them become successful first and I'm not giving those U:S. citizens someday, kids up for anything," she "They tell us to get a added. career," said Lang, one of the "They're really afraid of teens. "To get good grades." ICE," Welch said. "They're To become somebody and always scared and they don't lead a good life, he added know who to trust," she about his formative years in explained about Cynthia, Portola and other Lang, their parents and the communities. Last year he people she instructs in the received straight As and school and in her English that's his goal for this year. language classes. Lang's sister Cynthia The attitude with those she nodded in agreement, knows is that "If ICE comes, But as Lang considers their we will leave." present situation, he's "They're always packed wondering, "what's the and ready to go," she said. point?" That includes clothing, food The teens are registered and their important papers. members of DACA -- Welch said that she never Deferred Action for asks anyone where he or she Childhood Arrivals -- or is going. She does ask them to Dreamers as they've been text her that they're okay. popularly called. It was "I won't lie to ICE, but what important when they knowledge I do not know they received that paperwork. It can't get out of me," Welch meant security and it meant said. they were on their way to becoming accepted into a Meeting a DACA holder country they've known far It took two trips to the better than their homeland. Portola Branch Library-- the And they were willing to agreed upon location -- to accept the restrictions, succeed in meeting with As DACA registrant' , they anyone registered with can't leave the country or DACA. It took that long for they lose their status. Their Welch to convince some of In celebration of World Sandwich Day will be offering on Buy any Medium Drink and get a FREE 2nd Sub Equal or lesser value 530.258.2563 433 Main St., Chester the young students and their parents that it would be safe to talk to the local press. She told them this Was someone she knew and had known for nine years. The reporter wasn't with ICE. She said that neither of us wanted to see them deported and that their names would be changed to help protect their identities. She explained the reporter simply wanted to" come to understand their thoughts, feelings and way of life, and share their stories so others could come to understand. On the second trip, Welch and the repbrter discussed the situation and what DACA really means to not just Lang and Cynthia, but more than 800,000 children of undocumented immigrants eligible for the program signed into legislation during the Obama administration. Lang and Cynthia are among the 79 percent or 548,000 who came from Mexico, according to information rounded up by the Pew Research Center and released Sept. 25. Salvadorans are the next highest on the list, but represent only 3.7 or 25,900 of the eligible population. Although most eligible DACA immigrants are from Mexico, Central and South America, other countries listed include South Korea with 7,310 people, the Philippines with 3,880 people and India with 2,640 people. Also checking the statistics, most DACA eligibles -- 45 percent -- live in California and Texas. California leads Texas 29 percent to 16 percent. According to the PEW study, the only other border state listed is Arizona with 4 percent of the total number eligible for DACA. It ties with Florida. New York and Illinois both have 5 percent. A sudden journey home Although Lang and Cynthia are registered with DACA and will need to get their citizenship, their liftle brother was born in the United States and comes by it naturally and legally. He's too young to understand what it could mean to him if his parents and/or his brother and sister were suddenly deported. Presumably he would be in for considerable changes -- just like Lang and Cynthia would experience -- in the land of their heritage where Spanish is the dominant Starts at 7:00 p.m. All Children Under 12 Must Be Accompanied by an Adult. $5.00 Donation 200 Main St., Chester 258-3009 $5.00 suggested Donation towards the renovation and adaptive re-use of the C hester Theatre for Movies, Drama and Concerts Sponsored by ML CC language not just in the home, but everywhere. The transition would mean far more than hearing one language instead of two. The teens be aware of what deportation could mean to them, but they've become residents of the United States whether they hold citizenship or not. This is home. Mexico, while held in esteem, isn't. Lang and Cynthia are among the fortunate. They have their DACA registration in place. For a time that gave them a little piece of mind at least for themselves, if not their parents. Anyone attempting to apply for the status Oct. 5 or later would learn they were too late for consideration. The program is closed. What DACA really means As a teacher and an English language educator, Welch makes it her business to understand the legislation that impacts her students. To become DACA eligible, Welch said children and adult children had to be living in the United States at least 10 years before applying. Lang and Cynthia have lived in California for 12 years. "Where does that leave our families?" Welch said. "They do need to get a handle on immigration." But at what price? Welch doesn't want to see good, upstanding people, those who work hard, learn English and make sure their children get an education, under threat of deportation. Welch said that the immigrants she knows work, although employment is often only seasonal. They're not eligible for public subsidy programs, including food stamps -- even during the winter. Legally they must pay into Social Security and unemployment. They are issued Social Security cards that are marked "work only." They must pay taxes, but they're not eligible for any of the benefits. Therefore, those who work in logging, tourism-related jobs or agriculture save as much as they can during the summer so' they have money for the long winters. And they pay their own medical expenses, she said. Those who are in the United States are not eligible for public medical coverage. One of Welch's responsibilities with English language learners is to assist those who are become citizens of the United States. Those eligible are the people who came here with a visa or a green card allowing them to work. Marrying a U.S. citizen used to allow immigrants to become immediate citizens, but that has changed. Welch said that those who are in the U.S. illegally could go to the Mexican Consulate in the United States and apply. Or they can go directly to ICE and apply (until 2003 ICE was known as Immigration and Naturalization Service). But there is a monetary penalty for every year that an illegal has lived in the U.S., Welch explained. Most cannot afford it. Illegals can also return to their country of origin and apply for U.S. citizenship. But if that were an easier process most would have opted for that rather than coming to the U.S. illegally, she said. The real danger is that they would never be allowed to return to the U.S. For many that would mean leaving children and other family members behind. For those who are eligible for citizenship, Welch assists them in pre-test preparation. This is a hard test. Knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and history are a must. Being able to speak and write English fluently are required. According to Welch, citizenship-testing personnel in Sacramento have a list of 100 questions to choose from. The question could be asked in spoken English or in written English. How well the individual does with his or her response to that first question determines whether another question will be asked. Welch said that it's her goal to make sure her students are so well prepared that one question is all that's required. And her students are very successful. Lang and Cynthia Both teens know they will finish high school. Although Cynthia isn't sure what she wants to do or what career she wants to pursue, Lang wants to go into law enforcement. "I want to be a cop," he said without hesitation. "What would you say to the president if you had an opportunity?" Welch asked the brother and sister. Lang had an immediate response. "You say that you're Christian and all, but the Bible doesn't say 'neglect thy neighbor.'" "I'm a hard working person," Lang continued to explain about himself. "Overall I think we will be fme." He added that he likes politics and watches the news regularly. Again he said that he considers himself an American. "I don't oppose tougher border security," Lang said, but he believes that the way things are being managed is racist. Lang went on to say that the best way to curb illegal immigration at least from countries south of the border is to rid the U.S. of its overwhelming need for illegal drugs. Residents of so many countries south of the U.S. border are threatened by the violence caused by drug cartels, he explained. Many citizens of those countries will do just about anything to get to some place where it's safer. "If you cut off the demand, you cut off the supply, too," he said f'wmly. Jill II EVERGREEN - SERVING BEAUTIFUL INDIAN VALLEY SINCE 1977 Good News tbr Consumers: Enjoy Evergre~'s Wild Game and Pork Sale Great savings and it's a good opportunity finifll filling the freezer as we prepare for a big winter.. Two Days Only: Fri-Sat November 3rd & 4th, 2017 Sale Hours 8am-5pm EVERGREEN BUTCHER SHOP QUALITY, LOWER FALL PRICES! 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