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Editorial: The DACA dispute

Protect the Dreamers.

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On Sept. 5, the Trump administration declared an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that Barack Obama created in 2012. DACA is a federal government program that grants undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children the opportunity to temporarily live, work and study in America without the fear of being deported.

Those who applied for DACA, referred to as Dreamers, must have been younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, must have arrived in the U.S. before turning 16, must not have a criminal record and must be a student or have completed school or military service. If they get accepted, Dreamers can obtain a driver’s license, Social Security number, college enrollment and a work permit, things that only five years ago seemed unattainable..

Unfortunately, due to its recent demise, new DACA applicants will not be accepted while any current Dreamers must renew any DACA related permits they have by Oct. 5 in order for them to be valid for two more years.

This puts almost 800,000 undocumented immigrants in the U.S protected by DACA at risk of losing not only their jobs but their temporary legal status. By 2020 all Dreamers could lose their status if Congress does not devise a new plan.

All the while undocumented immigrants will be faced with uncertainty toward their future in America and could be deported at any moment since the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has all the information of DACA recipients and there is no law that ensures that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement cannot access any of it.

It is not right for all of the innocent children, students and educators to feel like an error that must be erased after contributing so much to this country through their hard work and commitment. Without DACA it would be almost impossible for them to have the same opportunities in this country. According to data collected by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), about 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate from high school each year but only 10,000 graduate from college.

This number will only decrease without DACA as undocumented immigrants will worry for their own safety before their education. Our country should not devalue the education of immigrants; they are people who work just as hard if not twice as hard to prove they are worthy only to be told time after time that they are not. The truth is that repealing DACA is a huge stab in the back of all the children who were told they could when they had it so deeply embedded into their minds that they couldn’t.

The Trump administration is villainizing innocent lives that seek nothing but success and acceptance and everyone needs to realize how cruel this is. Dreamers are ordinary people in our schools, neighborhoods and families and they deserve to stay as they are.

Furthermore the fact that eliminating immigrants from the equation of our economy would have an impact on everyone should not be the basic principle for protest; we should be fighting for the sake of human lives that are worthy of a place in this country.

As a society we need to open our eyes and call out the wrongful doings our government commits and getting rid of DACA is one of them. We need to stand with Dreamers and let them know that they matter not solely for economic reasons but because they are as much a part of this country as anyone who was born here.

Congress now has six months to decide how they are going to solve this issue but the fact of the matter is that DACA is the solution. There was nothing wrong with the idea of 800,000 undocumented immigrants having a chance at a prosperous life in the only country they know. Dreamers are not to be feared or hated; they are like any other young American who wants to make it in life; the only difference is where they were born which is completely out of their control. To make that the root of suspicion and even hatred is unfair and shallow.

DACA is not only 10 digits that gives undocumented immigrants an American identity, it’s a lifeline that keeps them moving forward and pushing against the current. We need to protest the termination of DACA in any way possible. Sign petitions online, call your senator, attend rallies or informational events, use your voice for those who are silenced out of fear. DACA does not need to be repealed and replaced, it needs to be protected, Dreamers need to be protected.

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Editorial: The DACA dispute