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Experiences of Latinx DACA Students while Navigating a Four-Year College in a Politicized National Climate
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College students with deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) status continue to attend higher education institutions (HEIs) despite their uncertain future in the United States. These students, particularly from Latinx backgrounds, overcome many challenges to access higher education and graduate. This qualitative study explored the experiences of Latinx DACA students as they navigated a four-year HEI in a highly politicized climate surrounding immigration. A total of 12 students were interviewed on their experiences at a four-year college campus with a focus on their academic and social challenges, and the systems of support from their family, community, and college. The findings indicated that the focal students utilized multiple sources of support, such as a DACA student club, to overcome challenges of fear and uncertainty and create a sense of belonging on their college campus. In addition, the political climate with the negative portrayal of this population served as a source of motivation and determination to succeed. The findings call for training to higher education faculty educators about this population and for increased academic resources and financial support to all students, regardless of immigration status. For instance, the creation of social networks, such as student clubs with a focus on the undocumented and DACA student populations can enhance their integration on campuses. Further research focusing on strengths these students possess is needed to create inclusive spaces on campuses that recognize their assets.