"Separation of families is something that we don't want to think about,” Gustavo Garcia Rojas said, a "DREAMer" studying to become a family therapist, and one of nearly a thousand undocumented students at California State University, Sacramento.
He, along with many of his DREAMer classmates who graduated Friday, say after the 2016 presidential campaign, it’s hard not to fear the worst.
"We're going to get rid of these people day one, before the wall,” said President-elect Donald Trump while on the campaign trail.
Garcia Rojas says statements like these furthered his anxiety about his future after graduation.
"You're kind of targeted in that campaign, like basically saying we're trying to get everybody out," Garcia Rojas said. "What are you supposed to do but to have fear?”
"I've seen students cry. I’ve cried with them," said CSUS President Robert Nelsen, who has been adamant about not turning over names or information regarding students to any federal authority, should that be asked of him. "That may make me a weak man, it may not, but I have. Yeah, there's anxiety.”
Nelsen added he was proud to see many DREAMer students graduate Friday.
"All of them have been dreaming about this opportunity to go forward and have a productive life,” Nelsen said.
Sacramento's new mayor, Darrell Steinberg, gave the commencement speech Friday at CSUS. In recent weeks he too has spoken about protecting families staying in Sacramento under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
“I can’t say it strongly enough: To our neighbors, families, kids and anybody who is worried about their status in our community, we are going to stand with them," Steinberg said in a statement to FOX40. "Neighbors stand by neighbors.”
"Letting us know that they'll have our back, that kind of relieves some stress,” Garcia Rojas said.
Still, he feels the support of his mayor and school president can only go so far. Garcia Rojas fears DACA, which provides temporary status and protection for undocumented people, might be repealed under a Trump administration come 2017.
According to Ed Source, there are upwards of 70,000 DREAMer students at universities and college campuses throughout the state of California.