So recently, Trump made another “I can’t believe he did that shit” Presidential decision. On Tuesday, Trump and his administration announced that they would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was started under the Obama administration. DACA is a program that provides almost 800,000 young people an avenue to obtain State IDs, work permits, and protection from deportation. Like many government programs, there are many requirements before a young person can qualify for DACA.
So, why does Trump calling an end to DACA matter? What does the end of DACA mean for all of those young people? Why does that matter to all of us?
Well for beginners, this means these young people are no longer safe from deportation. This means that anyone who is in the system and received their documents under the DACA program are going to live in anxiety and fear. Imagine the thoughts running through their minds. First, they revealed their undocumented status with a promise that they would be safe from deportation. They have additionally had to go through rigorous background checks and paid fees to gain their status. Now, they may be forced to leave their schools, jobs, and military posts if Congress does not act.
There are many capitalistic and economic arguments being made about how much money the US economy will lose if Congress does not act but that is beyond the scope of this blog. While I find those arguments valid and I completely understand why folks choose to lead the discussion based on them, I chose to focus on the moral and human aspect of the whole issue.
While I find this Trump decision, like all Trump decisions, unbelievably problematic and moronic, as an immigrant and as a refugee, this specifically resonates with me.
So, while I refuse to push the idea and agenda that the US is a perfect country and that it’s great for everyone, I do recognize that there are certain opportunities here that do not exist elsewhere due to varying historical factors. For example, many of the home countries that DACA recipients come from are dealing with various economic and human rights abuses. Many of their families are literally fleeing their home, their comfort zones, and their families to survive survive.
One thing I need to people to understand is that when a parent makes the decision to leave everything they know to start a new life in a foreign country, it is not because they plan on going there to “take jobs”. That decision is based on their humanistic desire to survive and provide opportunities for their children. This understanding is something I heard over and over growing up. When my parents decided to get in line for the refugee camps and later decided to get on a plane to a place they had never even seen pictures of, it was because their backs were against the ropes. All they knew was that whatever they were about to embark on, in this new country had to be better than the hunger, famine, and violence they were facing back home.
These same thoughts, I imagine, are the same thoughts that crossed the minds of the parents of the DREAMERS. They simply wanted better for their children. They wanted their children to have opportunities they never had. They wanted to literally save their children’s lives. So, when the DREAM act was passed and their children were able to qualify for DACA and attend school and gain legal employment, their decision was worth it.
So, not only should we care about what this Trump decision means to the individual DREAMERS, we need to think about what this does to families.
And once we’re done thinking about all of the terrible implications this decision has, we then need to act. There are many ways to show that you stand with DREAMERs.
Below is a link to a Huff Post Article that outlines how you can make an impact by contacting the White House and Congress and by using your social media platforms to have your voice heard.