By Josh Friedman || Contributing Editor
Last year, I wrote an article for my high school newspaper expressing my most genuine concern for the dangers of Donald J. Trump winning the presidential election. I continue to find that his unmatched arrogance and impulsivity continues to take a massive toll on both the foreign and domestic population. Trump’s most recent “did he really?” moment was his decision to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
It is unfortunate that prior to his decision, I was not very aware of what DACA was and why it is such an important program. DACA was established by executive action under the Obama administration. The primary purpose as stated on The Department of Homeland Security’s website is to allow individuals who immigrated to the United States as minors to receive, “consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.” DACA could even help the qualifying individuals, or “Dreamers”, attain a work permit.
The Dreamers are hardworking, dedicated, individuals. Recipients of DACA protection have gone through extensive registration processes and the prerequisites to receive DACA are difficult to meet. While the great majority of applications received have met the requirements and have been approved, the protection granted is nearing its expiration date with an option to apply for renewal no later than October 5.
The argument can be made that DACA is indicative of the U.S. government condoning illegal immigration. While DACA is a program established for illegal immigrants, it is not a get out of jail free card. Individuals who were over the age of 16 when they arrived in the U.S. can not apply for DACA. It is not a program established for adults who came here. Children and individuals who came here as children are the sole applicants. These Dreamers did not arrive in the U.S. with the intent to exploit the immigration system. The Dreamers were brought here for a better future. The government should not deny them this opportunity.
I am a fourth generation american. A shutdown of DACA won’t lead to my deportation from this country, but I am still terribly concerned by the effect this decision will have on me. My concern is for the countless DACA recipients that came to the United States of America who now may have to be sent back to a country they can’t reside in safely; a county with a native tongue that is not their own; a country they don’t call home. The United States of America is my home, just as it is to the countless DACA recipients who arrived in this country as infants and toddlers. These people are teachers, construction workers, business owners, active duty service men and women amongst so many other things. The Dreamers are just as deserving of everything this country has to offer as I am.
DACA is an opportunity for rightful Americans to feel protected in their home. “Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result,” President Barack Obama said. To shutdown DACA is to destroy any form of faith immigrants have in The United States as a place of refuge, of opportunity, of acceptance.
Congress now has six months to legalize DACA. I implore the population not to just keep up with the DACA decision as it progresses. Be a voice of change. It is too easy to watch people stand up for what they believe in. “…we can all extend our hands in friendship to Dreamers and their families, as well as to all newcomers, immigrants and refugees at Franklin & Marshall, in the City of Lancaster and in our home communities,” President Porterfield said in his statement to the F&M community. It is crucial that the F&M community expresses its support for Dreamers and DACA. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Those words used to have meaning. Pursue the legalization of DACA and restore the value of this statement.
First-year Josh Friedman is a Contributing Writer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.