DACA stirs up talk across the nation

Jacob Pitts
Staff Writer

President Trump's plan to remove the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrvals puts approximately 800,000 child or teenage  aged immigrants at risk of deportation. GRAPHIC BY ALANA MUELLER | The Hudsonian Student Newspaper

President Trump’s plan to remove the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrvals puts approximately 800,000 child or teenage aged immigrants at risk of deportation.

The fates of nearly 800,000 undocumented young adults are at stake as President Trump announces his plans to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that President Obama created in 2012 through executive order to protect young immigrants, also known as “Dreamers,” from deportation.

In order for one to be eligible for DACA, they must have arrived in the United States before June 15, 2007. It also stipulates that individuals must have been 16 years of age or younger upon arrival.

Records indicate that the average age of a qualifying immigrant at this time was three years old. Today, they are students, workers and veterans who face exile from the only country they’ve ever known.

DACA provides Dreamers with a two-year period of deferred action, which delays deportation and allows them to stay in the U.S. legally. It also grants them a work visa. This enables them to get driver’s licenses, jobs and college educations. Otherwise, these basic, yet crucial, opportunities would not be afforded to them.

Although Trump made promises on the campaign trail to do away with DACA immediately, he waited until September to declare that he planned to end the program within the next six months. This announcement was made amidst legal pressure from state attorneys, who threatened to sue if he didn’t act soon.

Trump has given Congress a six-month deadline to attempt to save DACA, but until then the futures of 800,000 young Dreamers are uncertain. If DACA is phased out, they risk being deported to countries that they don’t even remember.

A great deal of Dreamers are college students, so naturally this news has struck an emotional chord with HVCC students whose peers could be affected by the ruling. Most were empathetic to the plight of their fellow college students who, as a result, may have to sacrifice their educational and career goals in the United States.

Speech pathology major Jordan Rockwell said, “Trump’s decision to end DACA is heartbreaking. These individuals have [as much of a] right to be in this country as anyone else. Undocumented and unwelcome do not mean the same thing. Everyone deserves the right to live where they want.”

Some have attributed Trump’s DACA move to racism.

“His decision to shoot down DACA really says a lot about his views as a person and of the personhood of the children of immigrants, regardless of whether or not they were born in the U.S. or brought in,” said liberal arts student Caine Cunningham.

“He gives no thought at all to the fact that a good majority of them have no support network outside of the U.S. in the places that they would be deported to,” continued Cunningham.

Some sympathize with the Dreamers and believe that those who were already protected by DACA should be able to stay, but think the program should be discontinued for new applicants.

“They were under the pretense that they could live here. As long as you give people fair warning, like ‘After this date, this law is no longer in effect,’ so if you come here regardless of your age, you’re going to be deported if you’re here illegally,” said liberal arts major Gabriel Patterson.

Patterson continued, “I understand why people want to get rid of it, because it makes an age range of illegal immigrants legal, which doesn’t make any sense.”

As young Americans wait for a decision from a president who is largely unpopular in their demographic, the gravity of the situation is overwhelming.

The prevailing fear that Trump’s vision may be clouded is echoed by Cunningham. “It doesn’t matter to him if he’s separating families or sending people ‘back’ to countries that they don’t remember and haven’t been to in years or at all. It only matters to him that they’re not ‘American.’”

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