By: Elizabeth Jamison
Ever since Donald Trump became president, he has made decisions, such as the ending of DACA, that have marginalized many minorities. The “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or “DACA,” was a temporary program put in place by President Obama in 2012, that allows Dreamers to come forward, pass a background check, and apply for work permits (America’s Voice). To be eligible for the program, children must have arrived in the United States before the age of 16, and resided in America since June 15, 2007.
Because of the Obama administration, the 787,580 people who arrived in the United States through the DACA program, obtained driver’s licenses, enrolled in college, and legally secured jobs. All was well until Trump came into office. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is currently trying to cancel DACA, so Congress is leaving a six month window to figure what to do.
DACA is only important to people who depend on it; specifically, the Dreamer Immigrants. These kinds of immigrants aspire of coming to the United States, away from their harsh circumstances, and create a life for themselves.
Brookings Fellow Elizabeth Mann and Research Analyst Diana Quintero discuss how DACA can increase accessibility to higher education for undocumented students. According to Brookings Fellow Elizabeth Mann, “21 states have already either enacted laws that allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition or have university systems that offer in-state tuition to undocumented students” (NCSL). If DACA is repealed, states without these laws in place (particularly states with Democratic governors and legislatures) could adopt similar laws to increase college affordability for this vulnerable population.
After all, these are people who fear deportation every day. With Trump’s mere consideration to remove DACA, he is diminishing all the Dreamers’ hope. What is most ironic is that Trump, while trying to remove DACA, claims he “cares for these Dreamers. As Trump said, “I have a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly” (ABC).
However, if he really cared for these vulnerable immigrants, he wouldn’t even consider dismantling DACA in the first place. Many people say he is trying to make compromises regarding DACA and his other desires for the nation, but nothing is set in stone yet. In September of this year, Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi had a “very productive dinner meeting” with the president at the White House. “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” they said (New York Times). While this might seem like an improvement towards protecting the Dreamers, Trump quickly denied agreeing to anything, just a mere few days later.
America is supposed to be the land of opportunity and freedom. In the past, DACA helped people get the opportunity and freedom that they rightfully deserved. We, the American people, must stand up for our fellow immigrants, in times of despair. After all, many of us are immigrants, ourselves.