On June 15th, 2012 the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan was signed under the Obama administration. Under a number of guidelines, DACA recipients were promised two years deferred action.
According to Department of Homeland Security, to qualify for DACA there were specific guidelines.
- Under 31 years of age as of June 15, 2012
- Came to America before the age of 16
- Minimal to no legal issues
- Does not pose a threat to national security or public safety
- Currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
- Present in America at the time of the DACA signing
- No lawful status, meaning that you have not had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or your lawful status expired before that date
This opportunity for children who were raised as Americans, but have not been granted legal immigrant status, all changed when the Trump administration took a different stance on DACA. In fact, the DACA page on the Homeland Security website now states this: This page contains information that is no longer current but remains on our site for reference purposes.
As I looked over the official DACA information page, I began to put myself in the position of some of these people who are now faced with the fear of being deported and forced to live in a country that some of them have never even visited. How would I feel? What if my parents had brought me here illegally, raised me as an American, and then suddenly I was told to "go home" to a nation that I've never even stepped foot in?
As a 17-year-old high school student, I am currently enrolled in my first college of choice and will be attending that school next fall. However, right now there are children in the same exact position as me who are now unsure of their residence in the U.S. for the next two years of their life.
As a U.S. Citizen, I can’t imagine the idea of being forced to move to a country where I may not even speak the native language, understand the culture, or know their education guidelines. What would my career path even look like?
People strongly impacted by DACA were brought here when they were not old enough to take action for themselves and their future. Yet, the powers that be are going to make them pay for the choices their parents made?
While I know I am very far from being a politician or an activist, I can’t help but see the flaws in the immigration system in America. I cannot imagine living in limbo, being given an opportunity like DACA, and then suddenly lose it. That must be an emotional roller coaster.
I’m not sure what the future will hold for those receiving DACA benefits, but I will be the first one to say I can’t imagine being faced with such an issue.
We all should consider having empathy. We should try to walk a mile in their shoes to see if suddenly a political decision makes sense.
Here are two links to help you learn more about DACA: