In June 15th, 2012, the American president at the time, Barack Obama, implemented a program that in 2010 had failed to pass congress. This program known as DACA or the ‘’DREAM ACT’’ was finally executed with Obama, as it was declared that in the absence of congressional action, the Department of Homeland Security would act accordingly and create the program. The Department eventually instituted DACA, which stands for ‘’Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’’, as a temporary program to protect certain immigrants, who came to the country illegally as children, from immediate deportation. Obama then added that this policy was, ‘’A temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people. ‘’
DACA recipients must meet specific criteria to be considered eligible, making the process competitive and secure. They are required to have lived in the US continuously since June 15, 2007, to have come to the US before turning 16, but most importantly, not have a criminal record or significant misdemeanors. Amongst other requirements, DACA recipients must complete a seven-page application along with documents proving that the candidate is eligible to apply to the program. In addition, there’s also a form required for employment authorization. If the application is considered acceptable, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) will perform a background check on the applicant and provide him/her an appointment at a Local Application Support Center to supply biometric data (fingerprints).
This program has aided immigrants tremendously, nearly 800,000 undocumented youths have received protection under it since its creation. Even though DACA doesn’t provide a ‘Legal Status’, it protects immigrants from expulsion/banishment. Recipients are frequently known as ‘Dreamers’, after a similar proposal surfaced in 2001, called the ‘Dream Act’, that would have created a path directly to the American Citizenship for its receivers.
Current United States President, Donald Trump, has been attempting to end the program for a few months now, and it is expected that it will come to an end. In addition, Trump may also want to delay enforcement for 6 months, meaning Congress will be capable to pass legislation, diminishing the effect that DACA’s downfall may have on the current 690,000 immigrants who benefit and form part of this program.
Ever since Trump started his presidential campaign, one of his main promised proposals was terminating DACA, repeatedly blasting its flaws, such as calling it an unconstitutional policy. However, he has been hesitating on his proposal since his presidency began, implying that he has finally realized that the issue is a complicated one. In a news conference on February, he said, “We are going to deal with DACA with heart,” and added that the decision is ‘’very, very difficult.” Trump has acknowledged furthermore, the consequences and difficulties the matter will bring, yet he is still determined to terminate DACA before it progresses further.
Trump’s thoughts about the issue are the following, as he delivered on his conference, “To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids — in many cases, not in all cases.” He then continued, “But you have some absolutely incredible kids — I would say mostly — they were brought here in such a way. It’s a very, very tough subject.”
This decision has not been taken lightly by many citizens. In fact, immigration advocates have spoken up and pleaded President Trump to consider his choice and proceed with the program. Their argument is that the immigrants who benefit from DACA should be treated with empathy- as they didn’t choose to live in the US, their parents did, they were very young and dependent on their parents.
Trump’s decision will tremendously affect the recipients of DACA negatively. They will most likely be deported back to their conflicted country, and have no say in it, for they will be no longer protected by the program. I understand the concerns President Trump has regarding terrorism and violence in his country, generated by foreign people that come from conflicted countries, but deporting people that came to the country when they were just children, and now recognize United States as their country, is cruel. Protecting your country is being a leader, but harming others that have no fault, is not being a leader, but instead, it is having no compassion for those who need aid. Whatever happens in the future, whatever decision is approved, we want to let DACA immigrants know that we will stand for you and for your entitled human rights.