Immigrant by Law, American by Heart

By Michelle Lecumberry, News Editor

Imagine being raised in the United States for most of your life. Everything you know is in the US. Everyone you know is in the U.S. You have friends here. You grew up here. Your entire life has been in the U.S. The idea of the US government deporting you at any moment can be hard to imagine. For millions of people living in the United States it is  a reality.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that gives temporary protection to undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as minors to work, study, and live in the country.

DACA is a government program that gives a chance of a better life to the sons and daughters of immigrants. The majority of the children brought to the United States did not have a choice, it was their parents who made the decision. A decision based on the hope of giving them a better life.

By allowing the government to send back millions of children that barely remember the foreign country they are from is almost inhumane. Not only are they torn apart from everything they know, but their parents were fleeing poverty, or extreme violence.

The people in the DACA program live in constant fear of deportation, simply because their birth certificate is not American. For them to go back to a strange country would be hard, they would have to start from scratch and there could be some culture or language barriers.

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Protestors chant as they marched “liberation not deportation” and “we are the immigrants, mighty, mighty immigrants.” Sept. 5. Photo by Michelle Lecumberry

If someone was brought here when they were 3 years old, and now they are 26 years old it is ridiculous to suggest to send them back when they have lived all their lives in the U.S. They are American in every way except in paper.

DACA recipients have to meet specific criteria to qualify. The criteria is a clean criminal record and a high school diploma. This also includes a fee. It is a strict program that accepts decent people. So,deporting all of the recipients won’t have a real impact in the crime rates like some argue.

Having a DACA work permit does not mean you are applying for a residency or citizenship, it only means you have permission to work and exist in the US. DACA recipients are required to pay taxes but  don’t receive many benefits. They are also not eligible for government financial aid to go to college. What DACA really does is take away the fear of deportation.

DACA is no longer accepting new applications and  being terminated on March 5 2018. Ending DACA  does not make the US safer, or help economically. It is a program that helped people but will end simply because of prejudice.

DACA recipients trusted the U.S. government and now  are in fear of deportation. The government has their phone number,address, and fingerprints. Everything.

DACA recipients are ideal members of society and contribute to the economy. Defending DACA is not a democratic thing or crazy liberal movement. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has urged President Trump to not end the program. Defending DACA is the humane thing to do.

 

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