A new “Center for DREAMers” aimed to support undocumented Wisconsinites and DACA recipients recently launched and is currently being housed at the University of Wisconsin Law School. 

WIDA — also known as World-Class Instructional Design Assessment — Human Resources Coordinator Erika Rosales is the director of the project and received a $110,000 grant from the Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment to create the “Center for DREAMers at UW” with co-project leader Erin Barbato, director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at UW Law School, according to a UW statement.

Rosales was born in Mexico and grew up in Madison. As someone who once faced the challenges of higher education as a DREAMer herself, she said she hopes the center will provide currently lacking resources for undocumented students.

“My ultimate goal is to have a place where DACA recipients feel seen and heard, and where their whole humanity is being acknowledged,” she said in the UW statement. “We want to create this space for them to have a little bit more hope and more access to higher education.”

DREAMers are defined as young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. This term came about after a federal bill called was introduced in 2001 that would provide undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship through college, work or the armed services, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

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The center will provide mental and social services, legal representation, and career and educational counseling for some of the nearly 11,000 DREAMers in Wisconsin. The purpose of this center is to “ease the burden of uncertainty” many undocumented immigrants have experienced over the years, according to the Office of the Provost.

Tenzin Kunor, who is the lead of DACA student support in the Dean of Students Office, said the office is excited to be involved with the program.

“[The Dean of Students Office] is looking forward to serving as collaborative partners to support the success of the Dreamer student community,” Kunor said in an email statement to The Badger Herald. “This center offers a shift from individual support and assistance to cultivating a presence on campus and offering key resources in the efforts of providing holistic and trusted support.”

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Kunor said the Dean of Students Office will help allocate proper resources to DREAMers in support of the newly developed center.

“The Center of DREAMers will be vital in serving as a hub of resources for Dreamers navigating higher education especially during these turbulent times,” Kunor said. “The Dean of Students Office will continue to work with Dreamers, and all students, to connect those who are navigating personal, academic, or health issues, to supportive campus and community resources.”

The center currently has offices set up in the UW Law School and the South Madison Partnership building on Park Street and was recently soft-launched this October.

A larger space for this program will hopefully be introduced by January and incite a full launch of the center, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.