SAN DIEGO (KGTV): Dreamers across San Diego have a week's worth of rallies, protests and programs planned on Community College Campuses.
Students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, say it's time to come out of the shadows on campus and show their fellow students, teachers and administrators the role they play.
"DACA students are here, Dreamers are here, and they’re here to stay," says Miguel Mellado, a DACA student at Southwestern College.
"We have to really stand up and say we’re here, we’re proud, we’re working hard, and we deserve more," he says.
Mellado's parents brought him to America when he was eight years old. He didn't learn he was undocumented until middle school. He says it left him feeling isolated.
His desire to find community, and help others do the same, is what led him to help organize this week's "Undocumented Students Week of Action."
Events begin Monday at City College, Mesa College, Miramar College and Southwestern College. The San Diego Community College District has already announced their support of the programs.
An estimated 1,000 undocumented students are enrolled at those colleges.
"DACA recipients are some of our hardest working and brightest students, and it is our duty to advocate on their behalf," said San Diego Mesa College President Pamela Luster.
"Clearly, these deserving students who came to the U.S. as children, who have not been convicted of any crimes and who are earnestly seeking an education to improve their lives, are tremendous assets to our community."
But that support has upset some people in San Diego who feel DACA students take opportunities and resources away from other students.
Raul Rodriguez, Jr., the California Coordinator for America First Latinos, told 10News that taxpayer-funded schools shouldn't be supporting events like this since the students were brought into the country illegally.
Meanwhile, the DACA Act is tied up in courts, after President Trump announced an end to the act in September of 2017. Mellado says he and his fellow Dreamers shouldn't wait for the government to solve the issue.
"I don’t believe policy helps that much," he says. "It really is us leading the charge and saying we’re going to change the stigma put on us."
A full schedule of the events planned this week can be found by clicking here.