Though Yakobi’s entry into Mexico was an accident, DACA recipients, who renew their protected status every two years, are not allowed to re-enter the U.S. once they leave. Yakobi was taken into custody and held for several days by I.C.E. officials.
Once the news regarding Yakobi’s plight became widespread, the Jewish community, particularly in California, along with fellow UCSD students did everything in their power to help. Following petitions, community protests, and Jewish activists demonstrating in favor of maintaining DACA on Capitol Hill, Yakobi was released from custody on Jan. 12 and his DACA status still remains intact.
Some Jewish groups, including Hillel, made public statements on the issue.
“Hillel is dedicated to ensuring that all students at UC San Diego are able to thrive in their time at the university, regardless of their background, race or religion,” Rabbi David Singer, the executive director of the UC San Diego Hillel, said in a statement following the release. “We are overjoyed that Orr was released from ICE custody, and inspired by the outpouring of support he received from across our community. Orr is an exceptional student and member of our campus community; we’re glad to have him back.”
The arrest came at a time when the future for DACA recipients is in jeopardy. The Trump Administration announced plans last year to terminate the program and a recent government shutdown was forced, in part, by congressional inaction on the issue.
The controversy occurring within the government with regard to DACA recipients has continued to affect various college campuses. UC Berkeley student, Luis Mora, was also arrested by border patrol for taking a wrong turn into Mexico. At UCLA, USAC’s General Representative 1, Nicole Corona, advocates for social justice through student-led campaigns to defend DACA.
“As an undocumented student, I prioritize advocating on behalf of every undocumented student, regardless of their ethnicity,” Corona said. “However, it is important to recognize the disparities that exist among DACA recipients. We should remain critical of hypocritical communities who show their support when they benefit from it, but simultaneously condemn others who do not come from the same spaces as them.”
Students found the positions of some Jews hypocritical, as part of the Jewish community fought for Yakobi’s release, while at the same time supporting Trump’s stricter immigration laws.
“We should support Orr’s release because it is our duty to speak out against any attacks on undocumented students,” Corona said. “But, if we commit to support Orr, we have to show the same amount of support to other students such as recently released UCB student Luis Mora.”
The question of whether DACA is going to be repealed or not could have a major effect on many college campuses.
“If DACA is repealed on college campuses it would have a huge ripple effect and students may no longer be able to go to school,” Vivek Mittal, managing attorney for the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center, said. “After Trump was elected, some people stopped going to school because they were afraid DACA wouldn’t be in effect anymore. A lot of people never had a life without DACA.”
As many people have varying opinions on whether or not DACA should be repealed, we need to remain critical of the hypocrisy regarding the issue. If Jews are supporting Yakobi’s release on social media platforms, they should not be supporting Trump anti-immigration laws as well. The community needs to remain conscious of the fact that everyone should be considered equal and it is important to fight for DACA’s renewal for all ethnicities and religions.