Lexington college students spark national DACA debate

Lexington college students spark national DACA debate
Garcia says the post originated on the 10th Crusade Enthusiasts Facebook page. (Source: LEX 18)
Garcia says the post originated on the 10th Crusade Enthusiasts Facebook page. (Source: LEX 18)
Paola Garcia is a senior at Transylvania University. (Source: LEX 18)
Paola Garcia is a senior at Transylvania University. (Source: LEX 18)

LEXINGTON, KY (WAVE) - A story out of Kentucky is making waves nationally, as a student at Lexington's Transylvania University says she was targeted and threatened for her DACA (Deferred Action for Child Arrivals) status.

According to NBC affiliate LEX 18, senior Paola Garcia says another Transy student posted in a Facebook group that she should be deported. Garcia shared a screenshot of what appeared to be the Facebook post of that student, Taylor Ragg.

"Everyone go report this illegal at my school bragging about breaking the law," the post read, alongside a photo of Garcia's Facebook profile. It refers to Garcia's Facebook bio, which read "Undocumented, unapologetic and unafraid."

Garcia told LEX 18 that Ragg posted his message in a Facebook group called The 10th Crusade Enthusiasts over the summer. She said she was flooded with threatening messages.

School officials initially responded to Garcia saying Ragg's post did not violate the school's non-discrimination policy. So she shared an emotional plea on YouTube (NOTE: video contains strong language) about the threats, calling for the school to take action against Ragg.

When the president of the university tried to meet with both students, Ragg denied, but shared his opinion on the matter with The Narrative Times. The website published an article entitled "ILLEGAL ALIEN Boast's [sic] About Being Here ILLEGAL [sic] and Suddenly Get's [sic]  A REALITY CHECK!"

Then the internet debate spread like wildfire.

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Garcia has DACA status. It grants her temporary legal status to work and go to school in the United States without fear of deportation. DACA recipients must renew their application for the permit every two years.

President Donald Trump announced DACA will wind down over the next six months. If Congress does not act to find a solution in that time, it is unclear what will happen. But many DACA recipients could be up for deportation.

Garcia's family brought her to the United States when she was two-years-old. But a permanent pathway to legal status has remained elusive. She says her family has been in the process of gaining citizenship for 14 years.

Garcia told LEX 18 she has dealt with hate for her entire life.

"Deportation, getting harassed, getting reported," she said. "I want this to be hopeful. I want people to see this for their reason to keep fighting. Their reason to reach out to ask for help and to ultimately not live in fear."

Wednesday afternoon Transy officials confirmed Taylor Ragg is no longer a student. The circumstances of him leaving the school are not known. University officials said they could not provide further details.

Ragg deleted his Facebook account. LEX 18 found no other way to reach him.

Garcia says she and Ragg never met.

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