DACA: keeping the DREAM alive

Prycilla Rodriguez, Entertainment Editor

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September 5th is a date Dreamers will never forget. On this date, President Donald Trump announced that a beneficial program called DACA would be coming to an end in the month of March in 2018. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival and is a program that helps young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children to further their educational opportunities, avoid deportation, and have access to a work permit. Recipients are still granted status to stay in the U.S., but it is only for another two years.

Former president Barack Obama reintroduced the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act to Congress in 2011, which failed to pass. In order to stop the deportation of immigrants, he established DACA was through an executive order. Dreamers, the nickname for the program’s recipients, are able to temporarily live in the U.S. and are granted some benefits that born U.S. citizens have.

In order to be able to apply and be considered as a DACA recipient, there are some requirements. Children must be under 30 years old when they apply and must have a record clean from any felonies. They must be currently enrolled in school, have graduated, or enlisted in the military.

In many ways, DACA has been a sustainable way for young adults to help support their families. Parents often have their child(ren) temporarily live in the U.S. through DACA while they (the parents) remain in their home country. Because of this, the children are able to get a job and send back money to their families in their home countries. Recipients of the program are also able to apply for a social security card, which would give them an identity in the United States. They are allowed access to many health care benefits and even are able to get their driver’s license.

Removing DACA will cause a huge impact on individual state gross domestic product. According to data conducted by the Center for American Progress, Illinois alone would lose over $2.2 billion annually with the removal of the estimated 36,867 DACA workers. California, the state with the most DACA recipients and workers, will lose over $11.6 billion annually. Not only would America suffer economically, but families will be torn apart.

Because DACA is only granted to people under the age of 30, most of its recipients are in their teen years or their early twenties. In some cases, parents have legal citizenship but their children are only granted theirs because of the program. If DACA is removed, children and their parents will be separated. Children will be deported back to their home countries, and in most cases parents will stay here in the U.S.

Republican senators have proposed to replace DACA through the Succeed Act, which is supposed to grant legal status in the U.S. to recipients who emigrated as young, undocumented children. This would be a lot harder, unfortunately, because they would only be granted 10 years of citizenship and the surveillance on the recipients would increase. Nevertheless, this will not stop the fight for permanent citizenship for immigrants. There is still hope for Dreamers.

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DACA: keeping the DREAM alive