Criticize President Trump's decision regarding DACA
In President Donald Trump’s more than 230 days in the White House, he has enacted policies with which I have aggressively disagreed; from its stance on the American Health Care Act to climate change, this administration has rolled back Obama-era policies that would have positively affected this nation in the long-term. However, there has been no policy as inhumane, unjust and unfair as Trump’s decision on Sept. 5 to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has shielded 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came here as children, from deportation, . The program also enabled them, after strict background checks, to receive a two-year work authorization card that provided for thousands not only the ability to work but also the ability to apply for driver’s licenses and mortgages and, for many, the ability to purchase a car for the first time.
DACA was not established by simple merit, it was the long-term effort of advocates and Dreamers against a hostile Obama administration that had been deporting more undocumented immigrants than any other U.S. administration in history, . Dreamers is a term given to undocumented immigrants who came here at a young age. The DREAM Act — for which they’re named — has failed to pass in Congress throughout multiple efforts in the last 16 years. In 2012, a group of Dreamers conducted a sit down in an Obama campaign office in Denver and demanded protection for an immigrant group that has the overwhelming support of a supermajority of Americans, . In this, DACA was born, because most Americans understand that it is morally unfair to punish a child for the actions of their parents, but most importantly, it is not in the interest of our nation to deport thousands of young individuals that are American in all aspects of life, except on paper. Dreamers are hard-working individuals ingrained in all fabrics of American life.
DACA was never meant to be permanent; it served as a temporary protection at a time when Congress was playing political football with the lives of over 800,000 young people. In 2012, the Senate Gang of Eight— a bipartisan group of eight U.S. Senators, including Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) — passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act that would increase border security while providing a pathway for undocumented individuals. It passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but it was never even given the chance of a vote in the House, . As a result, President Barack Obama issued DACA, because Congress failed to do its job and serve the viewpoints of the American constituency.
Over these last five years that DACA has existed, Dreamers have proven their contributions as beneficial members of American society. The deportation of DACA recipients would see billions in waste to our nation's GDP, an extreme educational brain drain to students we have educated as a country for years and a reduction in our ability to be a global competitor. , DACA recipients are employed in all of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies, which is why we have seen entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook speak out on such an issue. However, the more significant drawback is the moral injustice that such deportations would bring. We would literally be sending children back to nations they barely know and expelling them from the only country they know as home. Though the average age of a DACA recipient is 25, , children of undocumented immigrants are still affected. Ask yourself, would you hold a six-year-old child accountable for an immigration status?
I myself understand this paralyzing fear because I am one of the 800,000 DACA recipients in this nation. I came to the U.S. from Caracas, Venezuela at the age of six with my mother and sister to flee the violence and political turmoil in my home country. My mother came here legally, under an L1 Managerial Visa that would have eventually enabled us to achieve a permanent resident status. Unfortunately, I never got this chance. When I was 11, my mother died of kidney cancer. In losing my mother, I lost my status without even knowing it. I discovered I was undocumented when, while applying for a learner’s permit in eighth grade, I was rejected for lacking a social security number. Being that I had considered myself American, this was an embarrassing moment. Yet, luckily for me, Obama issued DACA several months after, finally allowing me to to apply to get a driver’s license as well as specific scholarships and internships. It also enabled me to purchase my first car and finally legally work and contribute to my community.
These upcoming six months are arguably the most important and significant months for Dreamers. We have a golden opportunity to use this dark period to accomplish a permanent legislative solution that Congress has failed to pass in 16 years of trying. Legislators on both sides of the aisle have introduced a wide array of bills set to protect Dreamers. The Bridge, DREAM, Recognizing America’s Children and the American Hope Act are all current legislation in both the House and Senate to protect Dreamers. Even more important, this legislation has strong bipartisan support with key Republican leaders such as Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis,) and Senators Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), John Mccain (R-Ariz.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) expressing support for legislation aimed at protecting Dreamers.
The most paralyzing of fears have begun to actualize for immigrant youth communities, but now is not the time to despair, rather to fight back in an effective political manner that will finally yield us permanent solutions. Dreamers should not fear deportation based on who is sitting in the White House. Just as DACA was achieved, we will continue to be unafraid, fighting back by sharing our stories to show what we already know: We only seek to contribute to the only nation we call home, the United States.