Meet the Rutgers Student Facing Deportation: "I'm an American"

957db5c6f0a4284cf145_IMG_20170501_123733.jpg
Carimer Andujar, an undocumented Rutgers University student, speaks to a crowd during a May 1 rally at Voorhees Mall in New Brunswick. She's facing deportation.
957db5c6f0a4284cf145_IMG_20170501_123733.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Carimer Andujar left the Dominican Republic when she was 4 years old. She and her mother emigrated to escape domestic abuse.

They settled in Spanish Harlem, a neighborhood in Manhattan, for a year. When she was in first grade, Andujar and her family moved to Passaic, a city in North Jersey, which has been her home for almost 16 years.

Now, the 21-year-old Rutgers University junior could be forced to leave the U.S.

Sign Up for E-News

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents zeroed in on Andujar, an undocumented immigrant, about two months ago. She received protection under a 2012 executive order, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), but her registration expired on Friday despite her filing for renewal last year. She’s scheduled to meet with ICE officers on May 9 in Newark.

“It’s been insane and intense, just because this is the only home I’ve known,” Andujar told TAPinto New Brunswick today, May 1, in Rutgers’ Scott Hall. “Being deported not only means relocation, but also separation from the life that you’ve been building.”

But Rutgers professors, administrators and students have moved quickly to defend the budding chemical engineer.

The faculty union, for example, launched a widely-publicized social media campaign under the hashtag #HandsOffCarimer. University affiliates and New Brunswick-based activists have planned protests in support of Andujar. Early this afternoon, demonstrators in a May Day march and rally—of which she was the featured speaker—shouted support for the young woman.

Elected officials have also thrown their weight behind Andujar. The office of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker reached out to her and then federal administrators, she said. Sen. Bob Menendez, meanwhile, attempted to figure out why her DACA renewal has lagged in bureaucratic purgatory.

And her attorney and various immigrants’ rights groups have gone to bat for Andujar. When she heads to her interview with ICE, she’ll be accompanied by a team of lawyers.

But support from the community doesn’t guarantee immunity from deportation or detention.

“I have a life here,” she said. “The thought of that being instantly taken away from me, and me being taken away from my family—it’s been difficult.”

Why immigration authorities chose to target Andujar is unclear. An ICE spokesperson told TAPinto New Brunswick that it can’t discuss specific cases without a signed privacy waiver.

Andujar and others believe her status as an outspoken, pro-immigrant activist might have attracted the heat. She is the founder and president of UndocuRutgers, a camps group that lobbies for students who are undocumented immigrants.

“ICE is never going to tell us why they targeted her,” said Lucye Millerand, president of the Union of Rutgers Administration, told TAPinto New Brunswick.

Aside from Andujar’s connection to Rutgers, the investigation has worried some activists because students who register under DACA are supposed to be guarded against deportation. Only those who commit crimes are meant to face that threat, according to the order.

For Andujar, the situation is a frightening one. She considers herself an American. And she wouldn’t know what to do if she were to be compelled to return to the Dominican Republic.

Although she’s fluent in Spanish, Andujar is more comfortable with English. Plus, she said, she doesn’t know the culture of the tropical island nation.

“Being American is not just having a piece of paper,” she said. “It means a lot more.”

She understands that some people—especially with the rise of President Donald Trump and his nationalist policies—would be happy to see her go. But she doesn’t agree with their reasoning.

“I came here when I was 4, and I didn’t come here out of my own decision,” Andujar said. “We came here because of the dire circumstances we were facing in the Dominican Republic.”

For much of her life, Andujar didn’t know whether she’d be able to attend college. Financial pressures and her being an undocumented immigrant left that a question until she was a senior in high school.

Now, she’s unsure whether she’ll be allowed to finish her degree.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Steven Cahn for Ward 3 Piscataway Township Council

May 19, 2018

Why I am Running for Township Council:

I am running for re-election for the 3rd Ward Piscataway Township Council position because I want to remain part of the team that has been very successful in making great improvements to our community in recent years. We have been named three times (2008, 2010, 2014) by MONEY Magazine as one of the best towns to live in America. I am also running because ...

Michele Lombardi for Ward 4 Piscataway Township Council

Hello, I’m Michele Lombardi, your Piscataway fourth ward councilwoman. I’m asking for your support in the upcoming democratic primary race on Tuesday June 5th. I care about what happens here in Piscataway.

I have lived in Piscataway my whole life, I was raised by parents who have strong family values and taught me to be involved in my community. My dad was a volunteer firefighter ...

Mohammed Raqeeb for Ward 4 Piscataway Township Council

Mohammed Raqeeb for Ward 4 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 4?

Piscataway is a very special place to my family and me. Along with my wife, I have been a homeowner here for 13 years, where we are raising our 3 children. I am running to be the Ward 4 representative on Piscataway’s Township ...

Frank Uhrin for Ward 1 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election to the Piscataway Township Council?

Little League baseball and Pop Warner Football have taught me a lot: teamwork matters, hard work counts, and there is a place and role for everyone.I cherish the time I spend as a Little League commissioner and Pop Warner president because the sparkle in every child’s eye when he or she makes a great play or comes to ...

Dr. Tom Connors for Ward 2 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 2?

I have been a resident of Piscataway for the past 30 years.   I have been a Democrat my entire life.  I am running for election because I'm tired of Piscataway’s career politicians who have made decades of unfulfilled promises. In my book, they get a failing grade for how they have handled the ...

Staci Berger for Ward 3 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 3?

I am running for the Piscataway Township Council Ward 3 position because our community needs new leadership. I will be the independent, principled, and collaborative advocate our neighborhood deserves.

I have been a Piscataway homeowner for 20 years.  I am proud that my husband, Bill Irwin, and I are raising ...

Dr. Jacqueline Littlejohn - Candidate for Piscataway Town Council

Why are you running for election to the Piscataway Township Council?

I am running for election to the Piscataway Township Council because I believe that a vibrant democracy only flourishes when the governed have a voice in their government, be it in the form of compromise, protest, or even becoming viable candidates themselves. I have chosen the latter approach. As a candidate I want to be the ...

The Piscataway Democratic Organization Names its 2018 Ward Slate

The Piscataway Democratic Party is putting forward an incredible slate of ward candidates for the Township Council.  “Frank Uhrin, Jim Bullard, Steven D. Cahn and Michele Lombardi have brought us a 12 percent drop in the tax rate, many new job opportunities for hard working residents, and a rise in property values,” party chair and former mayor, Ted Light said.  ...

New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Commission Returns to South Plainfield

May 21, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A new state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) opened its doors in South Plainfield on Monday, just one week shy of a year since the borough’s former agency closed its doors. The office, located at 5000 Hadley Road, will provide in-person services to residents of the borough and the surrounding communities six days a week. 

“I would like ...

Obituaries

Toms River – Mary Stella Whiteman, 97, passed away peacefully Saturday May 19, 2018 in Rose ...
Read more
Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more

Relay For Life Top Fundraiser Brianna Cagan – Event Set For June 2

May 20, 2018

When Brianna Cagan’s dad was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, she and her family wanted to do something meaningful to fund cancer research. Brianna, her mom Sue Kelly, and their friends started a started a Relay For Life team called “Pearly Girls.” Seven years later, the high school freshman is the American Cancer Society’s top individual fundraiser for the Berkeley ...

ESCNJ Raises $12,000 at 6th Annual 'Autism Awareness' Fundraiser

For the 6th straight year, the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey's (ESCNJ) Annual Autism Awareness Swim & Play fundraiser on behalf of Autism New Jersey was a great success.

Total funds raised were approximately $12,000, as a result of pledges for laps completed, T-shirt sales, and families participating in arts and crafts activities.

The event received additional ...

Violent Campus Rapist Sentenced in New Brunswick

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - While walking across the Rutgers new Brunswick campus two years ago, a young woman was grabbed, viciously beaten, and raped by a middle-aged man from Newark.  She was saved by several students who intervened on her behalf.  Yesterday, her attacker was sentenced to 22 years in prison with no early release possibility.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Vehicular Homicide Charges for Driver of Paramus School Bus

May 24, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The driver of a school bus involved in a crash on Route 80 last week that killed two people faces two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide/death by auto, it was announced today.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Woodland Park, attempted to make an illegal U-Turn on the highway in an attempt to find his way to Waterloo Village, the planned destination of the bus that was ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...