Don’t Destroy Dreamers’ Dreams

Don't Destroy Dreamers' Dreams

Kelly Arboleda, Writer

In 2012, President Barack Obama started the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that allowed for undocumented Americans who come to the United States as children the right to temporarily work and study here in America. DACA is designed specifically for those young lives who want a better future–and the hope (essentially) for a pathway to citizenship. Those who apply are vetted for criminal history and potential threats to the nation. If they pass, they are allowed two years with a chance of renewal and the possibility to have a driver’s license, enroll in college, and/or apply for a work permit. But now, President Trump has given Congress six months to find an alternative for DACA or he will dismantle the policy and make 800,000 young lives leave and return back to the country of their parents’ birth. Sadly, for some of them, they don’t know their home as any other place than the United States of America.

According to the most recent information supplied by the United States Census Bureauthere are approximately 22.3 million noncitizens living in the United States. Of those 22.3 million people, 800,000 individuals can be considered ‘Dreamers,’  all of whom are in need of a proper education and lifestyle, which they could not receive or have in their parents’ country, hence, why their parents traveled to the United States in the first place. Now, they’re frightened because their dreams are being ripped from their arms. CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg argues that “The decision to end DACA is not just wrong. It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American Dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it.”

Just like Mark Zuckerberg has said, President Barack Obama also believes it makes no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know. This policy was made with good intentions: to protect, educate, and persuade today’s Dreamers to live life to the fullest–in the United States. In a recent Facebook post that went viral regarding President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program, he stated that his administration “…acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country.” It is indeed sad because these Dreamers have done nothing wrong; if anything, they’re striving to make America greater than it already is each and every day. On September 5th, CNBC stated that President Trump’s decision“…could drag down the economy. A study earlier this year by the Center for American Progress estimated that the loss of all DACA workers would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by $433 billion over the next 10 years,” meaning that there could be severe economic ramifications from this decision. These economic consequences would affect all individuals living in the United States–not just those who are considered undocumented. 

Ever since President Trump claimed he was going to revoke DACA, there have been many protests all over the country, causing people of all ages and ethnicities to come together as one and fight for their liberty.  There have been protests in New York, Washington, D.C, Chicago, Los Angeles. Dozens of protesters were arrested in front of Trump Tower in New York on September 5th of 2017, according to ABC News. In the article “DACA Announcement Sparks Protests Nationwide, Dozens Arrested at Trump Tower” by Meghan Keneally, Jenna Woods, a freelance stage manager from New Jersey carried her 16-month-old daughter, Vera, in a baby sling outfitted with a homemade cloth covering that declared: “No human being is illegal.” Wood states, “I wanted us to do anything we could do to add our numbers to the crowd.” They just wanted to feel heard, and to be seen: not as immigrants but as human beings.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services have declared that while they will no longer accept new DACA applications and will only accept renewals if an individual’s status is set to expire on or before March 5, 2018, as long as they completed the necessary paperwork prior to October 5, 2017.  For many individuals, this will be it. The clock is now ticking–for DACA recipients and Congress. 

It is incredible how President Obama started this program in the hopes that children from all around the world would come, study in the United States, and learn a new language. Despite what President Trump or Congress states about DACA, Dreamers won’t stop dreaming. They have continued to stand up for what they believe in, despite the consequences. People have come together from different worlds, held hands, and fought for something they depend on. Like President Obama encouraged, “What makes someone American isn’t just blood or birth but allegiance to our founding principles and faith in the idea that anyone–from anywhere–can write the next chapter to our story.” The proverbial American Dream is alive and well in Dreamers’ hearts and minds; let us work towards making it a reality.