Educators Rally Around Santa Ana Students Facing Deportation to Mexico

The Camacho family. Photo from Change.org petition

By Sandra De Anda, OC Immigrant Youth United

In the past two weeks, many community members have come across an online petition for Yesenia and Omar Camacho, local Century High School students and siblings. The Camachos are recent graduates who found out in May that an immigration judge denied their family’s request for asylum and ordered them to be deported back to Mexico on June 10.

The deportation order has been stalled because the students and their family are being represented by a lawyer. Congressman Lou Correa (D-46) introduced a bill to provide relief from deportation for the Camacho siblings and their mother. With greater awareness, the petition to Thomas Giles, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Field Director of the Los Angeles office. Security is on its way to getting to 50,000 signatures, too.

Santa Ana educators played a vital role in the latter effort of building community support for the Camachos.

For those unfamiliar with their story, the Camacho family fled Michoacan, Mexico in December 2015 because they were threatened by a drug cartel who pressured them for money. If they didn’t pay up, the cartel warned that they’d be killed. Now in Santa Ana, the Camacho siblings have the support of their community and, most importantly, their educators.

Liz Guerrero, the students’ AP Spanish teacher, started the petition in support. “I remember when I found out about Yesenia and Omar’s deportation proceedings, I was in shock,” she says. “We all realized that the day of their check-in was the same day as their AP exam. Yesenia told me that I may never see her again if the check-in didn’t work in her favor.” Guerrero took some advice from Mike Rodriguez, another Santa Ana educator who works in Independent Studies for the Santa Ana Unified School District, about organizing a petition.

“I overheard a couple counselors at Century talking about the students’ case, and I knew I had to get a hold of Guerrero to see if there was anything I could help her with,” says Rodriguez.

Alan Gerston, an educator at Century High School who runs the e-business program that teaches students how to develop a strong business and technology-based programs, raised some funds to help with the legal costs of the students’ case. It’s a cause that reveals to many the dedication of local teachers to undocumented students.

Many educators throughout OC have started to do “Know Your Rights” workshops for their students because they know deportation and immigration issues are all too common. Others have also mentioned that it’s difficult at times to do what’s best for their students when the smallest act of appreciation for them can be deemed a political act.

Sure, OC has historically been conservative, but many educators are at the forefront of breaking the mold by doing everything they can to keep students in the classroom and in their communities.

Deport This! is a partnership between OC Weekly, Chispa and Orange County Immigrant Youth United. The column is a rebuttal of Donald Trump’s racist politics and his OC cheerleaders, who’ll no doubt get triggered every week with news and views by and about the undocumented community.

3 Replies to “Educators Rally Around Santa Ana Students Facing Deportation to Mexico”

  1. If the cartel wanted you dead you would be dead. Either here or there they are all over California . So I guess it could be you weren’t telling the truth that’s why you were denied. Or you haven’t changed your was after coming to America . I don’t think I’d move to Santa Ana if I was afraid of the cartel. Doesn’t make sense

  2. Yesenia and Omar are the types of students and people that make America great. And they came to the United States “the right way” through the asylum process. Immigrants have built this country and continue to contribute to this economy much more than they take away. They create jobs. They bring fresh ideas. Keep Omar and Yesenia here, or we will continue down this slippery slope where people’s rights will be taken away until they start coming after the rights of citizens as well.

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