One year ago this month, President Obama issued an executive order to prevent the deportation of more than 5 million immigrants.
As multiple lawsuits and appeals over the order continue to play out in federal court, the fate of these individuals — some of them undocumented students — is still unknown.
Venezuela native and Salt Lake Community College student body president Carlos Moreno says this unsettled situation is a humanitarian crisis.
“Many of those international students are literally on the streets relying on the goodwill of unknown good Samaritans, or living in 24-hour fast food restaurants,” Moreno explains. “Many others won’t be able to finish school at all.”
International students from Venezuela face unique challenges of their own.
“The situation is sad,” Moreno says. “We don’t have the means to pay our tuition.”
According to Moreno, the Venezuelan government has placed a restriction on foreign currency exchange and “we can’t exchange our Bolivares [Venezuelan currency] into U.S. dollars,” making it impossible for the thousands of Venezuelans studying abroad to survive.
Moreno, who also serves as the Utah Student Association legislative vice president, says the ideal solution is for the Venezuelan government to allow international students to exchange their currency into dollars or euros.
The government has denied all such requests, “accusing the students of [consternation] and treason,” according to Moreno.
Moreno created an organization called Estudiantes Venezolanos en el Extrangero to work with the Organization of American States and travel to Washington to find a solution.
The organization aims to empower Venezuelan students to legally organize and collect money and resources which would help improve their situation.
Moreno encourages all students to visit the group’s Facebook page to learn more and help raise awareness for the cause.