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I Stand with Immigrants Day of Action at NECC

Submitted by on November 1, 2022 – 4:41 pm

Haverhill and Lawrence, MA (November 2, 2022) – Northern Essex Community College is proud to participate in the 7th annual I Stand with Immigrants Day of Action on Wednesday, November 2.

Hundreds of colleges and universities across the country are joining together on this day to call on Congress to pass bipartisan Dream legislation this year. Time is of the essence – last month, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed with a lower court ruling that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was illegal but sent the case back to the district court. Though DACA remains in place, this policy, which protects certain noncitizens who entered the country before the age of 16, is in significant peril.

sarah stands smiling at the camera against an off-white wall

Sarah Pachano, NECC Student Trustee and Student Government Association member

NECC Student Trustee and Student Government member Sarah Pachano knows first-hand the importance of having permanent legislation to help recent immigrants. Her grandmother came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1980. Though she overstayed her visa, she became a US citizen in 1987 and brought family members to the country individually.

Sarah arrived in 2016 at the age of 18.

“For me, it was difficult to get accustomed to the culture. I was never looked at as different in the Dominican Republic,” she remembers. “But I was also shocked by how many opportunities were here.”

Sarah taught herself English in just six months by watching tv and looking up unfamiliar words in the dictionary. She then enrolled in NECC and connected with other students with similar backgrounds–some of whom are DACA recipients.

“It’s crucial to have that help. I have friends and family who came here through DACA, and they’re still human. They shouldn’t be treated differently because they weren’t born someplace with privilege.”

Sarah points out that DACA allows young people to attend school and find jobs without some of the fear that comes with being an immigrant living here without legal permission. “DACA gives them protection, a job where you have rights and don’t have to worry about an employer reporting you or firing you for no reason.”

She is also familiar with what a future could look like without DACA. One of her family members was recently deported back to the Dominican Republic after illegally coming to the United States. That family member is now working five jobs to support her children. “She wanted to give her children a life she didn’t have, and now they are forced to stay there,” says Sarah. “It’s a risk that everyone knows. No one wants to come here illegally, but they are desperate enough to do it.”

Sarah is hopeful that Congress can pass legislation to protect DACA recipients and those who, like her grandmother, seek a better life.

“We know it’s not going to be overnight, but we know we’re taking steps to make a better future.”

Join NECC in calling on Congress to pass bipartisan Dream legislation this year by visiting the webpage and following #IStandWithImmigrants on social media.

To learn more about services available for DACA and undocumented students at Northern Essex, visit the webpage or email