By Kylie Williams
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival), is an American immigration policy for individuals who entered the United States illegally, to protect them from deportation. DACA also allows kids (referred to as “dreamers”) to receive a work permit in order for them to get a job. Also, keep in mind that DACA has been going on for so long that some of these kids who entered the U.S as children are now adults who have jobs and lives.
So why is there such a buzz around DACA and the dreamers right now? Well, it all started in June 2012 when Obama announced this new immigration policy to protect young illegal immigrants. However, on September 5th, 2017, the Trump administration attempted to revoke the law but the full operation was delayed for six months leaving congress time to discuss the situation.
So that means that congress only has until early March to decide whether to keep DACA or to take it away. This is not a lot of time, but a lot can happen. In fact, on January 20th, the government shut down mainly in protest of the removal of DACA. President Trump said that he would protect the dreamers so long as congress would provide money to build the wall (to separate the U.S from Mexico). Democrats were against this proposal because they did not want the dreamers to be used as leverage for funding the border wall.
In protest, congress decided not to pass a full budget back in October, so instead they passed a mini budget that only lasted about three weeks. The difference between a mini budget and a shut down is that as soon as the government shuts down, there were no budgets being passed and the government could not receive any money. In January, the government shut down for three whole days and government employees actually got sent home because the government didn’t have enough money to pay them.
To further explain why DACA is important, basically if you were an illegal immigrant, DACA protected you from deportation. If the Trump administration succeeds in their proposal to cancel DACA, then you would have your visa (permission to stay in the U.S) revoked. This means that dreamers could be forced to go back to countries they might not even know about.
We interviewed 7th graders to hear their thoughts about DACA. Maribell Cruickshank from class 705 explained, “I don’t think that it’s fair because the administration tearing their families apart from them. And I believe that if they stayed here for a long time, they are probably helping the community and they live in a country of dreams. Only to get forced back by Trump. And the fact that he said ‘no wall no DACA,’ I mean, many people are trying to pursue their dreams here!”
Sarah Sellami from class 701 explained, “I think they shouldn’t be forced back to their countries because the places that they are coming from could be very dangerous. And if they go back, something bad could happen to them so they shouldn’t be forced back and separated from their family.”
This topic has gotten so serious that some schools like ours are dedicating time to discussing it. “We do this thing on Fridays called Socratic Seminars in Social Studies,” explained Angelirene Cuautle from class 602, “and during this time we basically study different topics and we come up with nice and deep questions to discuss them. One of the topics we discussed was DACA and what it was.”
“I’m am of Mexican descent,” she continued. “I was born here in America and my parents are legal immigrants. I’ve never met anyone who had to deal with DACA but I have an idea that it’s really hard coming to a country of dreams, having a house, having a family, having a perfect life here, and having it be destroyed by the president. It must be heartbreaking. I think it’s disgusting, honestly.”
Now I want you to put yourself in the shoes of a dreamer. You probably came here as a nine month old baby. You immigrated to the U.S illegally. Thankfully, after many background checks, DACA took you in, and you’ve been living under their wing ever since. Now you are 20 years old and you’re in a college and you have a family and a normal life. All of that can be taken away from you because of the Trump administration. How would this make you feel?
With the help of 8th grader Anais Fernandez we gathered a few quotes from 8th graders as well. Maria Sanchez from class 804 thinks that “it’s very unfair because people that have visas should be allowed to stay.”
But there’s more. DACA is not the only thing that scares immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security announced that they will be revoking the Temporary Protected Status (a visa that has been granted to 10 countries, mostly in Central America, who have suffered from war and natural disasters). This will cause people from El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Nepal, Syria, Nicaragua, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and South Sudan to be sent back to where they were from before. Mind you that some of these people with their visas now have families of their own and if they’re sent back, they might also have to leave their husbands, wives, kids, etc, back in U.S.A.
8th grader Jonathan Han from class 804 said, "[many] immigrants have spent most of their lives here, so it wouldn't be fair to send them to a country they don't know."
Recently, President Trump has been using lots of unprofessional language against many countries. For example, in a meeting with members of congress,Trump called Haiti along with African nations a s***hole country but denies doing so. Many people have responded to this saying it’s unbelievable that our president would say this.
With so much going on with politics, it’s almost the most discussed topic in the U.S. It is very important to be able to help these situations to stop people from getting hurt or harmed in any way.
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