By Tedi Rollins
Elm Staff Writer
On Sept. 5, 2017, President Donald Trump decided to end a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This program was first formed during former President Barack Obama’s administration to enable young adults who had been brought into the U.S. illegally as children to attend school, work, and obtain a driver’s license without fear of deportation.
A common misconception about recipients of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, DREAM, under DACA, stems from the anti-immigrant rhetoric that is so prevalent in our current administration. Many believe that the DREAMers pose a security threat to our country, because much of the public is accustomed to the conversation on border patrol. While Trump may argue that ending DACA is the best decision for the safety of U.S. citizens, the DREAMers genuinely pose no threat. National Public Radio’s Richard Gonzales said, “Those signing up for DACA must show that they have clean criminal records. They have to be enrolled in high school or college, or serve in the military.”
The truth of the matter is that DREAMers do more good for the country than harm. They are trying to work or get an education, just like other Americans.
The reversal of this program has resulted in an overwhelming backlash. With 800,000 young adults being affected, people everywhere are speaking out. Affected individuals, Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and even the President of Washington College Kurt Landgraf, are just some of the outraged voices.
In an email sent out to the entire WC community, Landgraf said, “…we support the goals and aspirations of every young person who is a member of our society — whether they were born here, or whether they came here with their parents who were seeking a more hopeful future for their children. Our students — whoever they are, whatever their background — are our country’s future.”
I could not agree more. The 800,000 DACA recipients are no less American than anyone else. Although they were not born here, the DREAMers were raised here on American soil. Many of these young adults have no memory of the countries they are from, and it is unjust to force them out of their home.
Obama commented on social media about this very issue. He said, “These DREAMers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.”
Congress has the next six months to come up with a compromise on DACA. Hopefully, we can take solace in the overwhelming support for the program that has emerged thus far. People from all sides of the political spectrum have joined together in an effort to defend DACA. Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, authors for The New York Times, said, “Democrats and some Republicans, business executives, college presidents, and immigration activists condemned the move as a coldhearted and shortsighted effort that was unfair to the young immigrants and could harm the economy.”
The USA is, at its roots, a nation of immigrants. While our Founding Fathers may not have been immigrants themselves, they are the children and grandchildren of immigrants. Our country has always been a melting pot of cultures, united under a belief in “liberty and justice for all.” Every morning before school begins, American children stand and recite this statement along with the rest of the Pledge of Allegiance. So do the DREAMers.
They were brought here by their parents so that they could have a better life. They were brought here to achieve the American Dream. Who are we to take that away?