Picture yourself in high school.
You’re a high-performing student who works hard in school. Your grades are stellar, and you are invested in your extracurriculars. You’ve started looking at colleges so that you can pursue the career of your dreams. You have your eyes on some top, selective schools, and you’re all set to apply, but then–
You realize that because of your undocumented status, you don’t have a social security number. Suddenly, scholarships and financial aid are out of your reach, and tuition for your dream school seems intangible.
That’s where DACA comes in. It’s the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation, by allowing them to obtain special, renewable visas that give them the opportunity to study and work in the US. DACA promotes the idea that minors who came illegally to the US didn’t make the decision themselves; it thus applies to those who came to the States under the age of 16, and have lived here since 2007.
DACA opens up doors to possibilities. Next thing you know, you’re enrolling into your top university choice, and you are on the path to realizing your dreams. But what if all of that was taken away from you?
Just last week, President Trump made the decision to rescind DACA, giving Congress just six months to try to turn the program into an official act, or watch as it’s closed down forever. What does that really mean?
Ending DACA means that 800,000 young people, students, and professionals, are at the risk of deportation. It means that 800,000 young immigrants, for whom America is the only land they can really call home, will be sent back to a place foreign to them. It means that thousands of families will be torn apart.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The American Dream. That’s what our country stands for, doesn’t it? Or are these just false ideas of the past– ideas that no longer need to be upheld by the descendents of the same Founding Fathers that established these tenets?
You were lucky. You, your parents, or your ancestors came to the US for opportunity, and there was no one waiting to take it away. I was lucky. As a first-generation American and part of the most educated and richest immigrant minority group in the nation, there are so many things that I, my family, and my community never had and never will experience. We were lucky.
Not everyone is.
We have six months. Six months to come up with a concrete action plan that turns dreams into reality. I believe that all young immigrants possess the right to build lives for them and be successful. Do you?