When Arlin Tellez crossed the Rio Grande River with her mother, she kept something nestled in her hand, a prayer card with a picture of the baby Jesus that her grandmother gave her the day before she left Mexico for the United States.
The prayer card traveled with her to a safe house, where the two of them arrived scratched and bleeding. It followed her to a second safe house, where after a raid, her mother was deported.
Now the prayer card sits in her dorm room at Trinity Washington University, where Tellez is a sophomore.
Tellez and three other undocumented students from Catholic colleges in the Washington D.C. area spoke on a panel called “Undocumented & Unafraid: Student Activism in the Era of Deportation,” hosted by Trinity Washington University and Faith in Public Life, a network of religious leaders for social justice causes.
Trinity Washington University President Patricia McGuire opened the event, highlighting the challenges faced by immigrants under the Trump administration. This year, the school enrolled over 100 undocumented students.