By Evi Arthur
Roosevelt University recently has been making more efforts to have resources and info available to students who are immigrants, especially students who are DACA recipients.
A program scheduled for mid-February featured immigration lawyer, Vishal Chhabria, and would have been followed by 15-minute private consultations where students could ask questions about their specific situations.
One of the groups responsible for the event was the Counseling Center. “The purpose was to give students the opportunity to talk to someone who has special expertise in dealing with immigration law and to talk more about dispelling the myths of some of the scary stuff we hear,” Counseling Center staff psychologist Dr. Leila Ellis-Nelson said.
The program was supposed to have taken place on Feb. 15, but due to a conflict in the speaker’s schedule, it had to be cancelled. The event will be rescheduled towards the end of March or beginning of April.
“The situation is changing, it’s always good to get somebody who works with it on a daily basis, to come and talk to us, all of this has legal implications and we’re not lawyers,” Co-chair of RU Oasis and director of the English language program Susanne McLaughlin said.
”We thought this would be a good start to open the lines of communication and to let students know that there are safe spaces that they can go to,” Pam Thompson-Hill, the director of the Multicultural Student Services Support Center said. The support center was another department responsible for the event.
This event was a follow up to a DACA event that was held a little while after the President had announced major changes to the DACA program. “Families were concerned about deportation and breaking up families and things of that nature so we thought that it was important to have a source for Roosevelt students to be able to get information directly,” Thompson-Hill said.
It’s important to support students of all walks of life and Roosevelt has made great strides to do so in recent years, with many new resources for all of its students.
“Here, it’s about tending to their mental health and well-being, making sure that they have a place to put all of that information and process it and to be open and be heard,” Dr. Ellis-Nelson said.
Many of the faculty at Roosevelt saw the importance of supporting students who are undocumented or DACA recipients. “If an institution is solely focused on making sure they get a check, then to me, they’re not doing their job,” Ellis-Nelson said.
RU Oasis, the Counseling Center and Multicultural Student Support Services are just a few of the departments available to students who are immigrants, there are many others available both on and off-campus that are ready and able to help students. “There are many very diverse departments at Roosevelt, if they see a need and they can make it happen, it happens,” McLaughlin said.
“We all have dreamers and undocumented students on our campuses so we want to make sure that we’re supporting them the best we can,” Thompson-Hill said.
When the program is rescheduled, it will be live streamed via Zoom and available to watch at a later time, for students who are cannot attend