By Olivia Pan
On September 5, the Trump administration announced plans to officially rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). According to CNN, DACA “had protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, from deportation.” The term “Dreamers” comes from legislation introduced in 2001 that offered amnesty to those who joined the military or went to college. That legislation was shot down in 2010 but the name “Dreamers” has stuck. Many of these children are now young adults with spouses, jobs, and families of their own. They know no other country or home. America is their home.
By 2012, 787,580 people had applied for the deportation deferment and any applicants to DACA had to have been under the age of 16 upon arrival in the U.S. DACA allowed for children who had been brought to this country through no will of their own to emerge from the shadows. It allowed for these children to apply for driver’s licenses, to colleges, and to jobs. These immigrants are not criminals. They are students, mothers, and fathers who pay income taxes and contribute to our economy. They have lived here virtually their entire lives and know nothing but the American way of life. They have done nothing wrong and do not deserve to be punished for the actions of their parents who wanted nothing more than to give their children better lives. Less than .2 percent of the approximately 800,000 Dreamers have had their DACA status rescinded due to any criminal activity. It seems like a no-brainer, right? Babies and children brought here who are now working, living, studying, and paying taxes⸺I think our president and many of his Mar-a-Lago cronies are not paying their fair share of those pesky taxes⸺should at least be considered a group of immigrants with which to sympathize in the U.S today.
Trump’s opinions constantly change, as they are now involving DACA. He previously stated in February, with regards to DACA, “…you have some absolutely incredible kids — I would say mostly. They were brought here in such a way. It’s a very—it’s a very, very tough subject. We are going to deal with DACA with heart.” With heart? In what world does putting an end to DACA, jeopardizing the lives of hundreds of thousands, involve “heart?” The truth is, Trump’s only goal in this administration is to rub out any trace of Obama’s legacy. Good policies, bad policies, it doesn’t matter. He wants to get rid of them all, DACA included, even though he previously referred to Dreamers as “incredible kids.”
Immigration is a hot button topic here, so we must secure our borders and vet refugees as best we can. The Dreamers, and I will extend this security by including other adult immigrants who came here illegally many years ago but have worked and contributed to the economy of this country (just visit a Trump hotel and ask), should be given amnesty of some kind.
It is imperative that we have some basic human compassion for people who have built lives here. We need to ask ourselves exactly how the deportation of innocent young adults will improve this country. The truth is, it won’t help our economy and it won’t make this country a safer place. It will rip families apart and destroy lives. That’s why I choose to support DACA and all of the Dreamers who have made America their home. America is not a country that turns its back on immigrants; it is a country that welcomes them. All one has to do to remind themselves of this fact is read the words written on the Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Many years ago, a young mother risking rape and/or death huddled her small little girl next to her and followed a random group of men, paying them to lead her through land overnight into the morning light of America. She prayed they would not kill or rape her and sell her child. This scenario was repeated thousands of times. Her child is here now and maybe she is your fellow college classmate. Stand with her and all Dreamers. Going forward, we can make any and all policy addressing immigration, but not at the expense of our fellow classmates, neighbors, and colleagues; our fellow Americans, the Dreamers.
Not all of us can come here and work illegally, modeling in risqué photo shoots, with no work visa, and then suddenly gain a visa and land a rich old husband. Frankly, I would rather risk the random dudes in the desert. No matter your political leaning, who more deserves to be here? If you have any doubts, ask a Native American Indian and I bet he or she can give you some clarity.
Photo Credits: Queen City Immigration Law