Battle Over Immigration Rattles Community Colleges

August 6, 2018
  • Advocacy
  • Community Colleges
  • Immigration
  • Industry News

Pamela Ortiz Cerda vividly remembered the assignment six years ago from her Mexican-American history instructor at San Joaquin Delta College, a community college in Stockton, Calif. “He required voting for our class,” Ms. Ortiz Cerda said. Students were told to bring in voting ballot stubs as proof.

“I assumed it was a joke, but to the whole class he said, ‘And for you, all you illegals, I’m going to have immigration waiting outside the class for you if you don’t have the stubs,’” she said. “As a teenager, straight out of high school, that’s terrifying.”

Terrifying because Ms. Ortiz Cerda was undocumented herself, brought to the United States from Mexico when she was 9 by her parents, who sought a better life for the family.

In a statement, San Joaquin Delta College said that it would be “almost impossible” to know what happened in the history class so many years ago, but said that in recent years the school had taken steps to support undocumented students.

Ms. Ortiz Cerda, now 24, became an advocate for those like herself, and she is the program services coordinator at Skyline College’s Dream Center in San Bruno, Calif.