Opinion / Uncategorized

DACA recipients are Americans who need a better path to citizenship

Article by Noel Ramos
The Saint Reporter

DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.”  It was an executive act administered by President Obama in June of 2012, allowing immigrants that moved to the United States to have their deportation put on hold for up to two years.  There are certain qualifications to be able to request this hesitancy of deportation.  Eligible status holders must have been less than 31 years old on June 15, 2012 and not have a criminal record.  They must have come to the United States before turning 16 years old, be in school, secure a high school diploma or equivalent, or be honorably discharged from the military.

President Trump is moving to disintegrate this act.  This means that a lot of immigrants will be forced back to the country they were born in.  However, a common misconception is that it will lead to mass deportations.  This is not the purpose of ending DACA and it will not happen according to President Trump.  Dreamers will also be able to keep their status until March 5, 2018, when it expires.  Their status is also renewable for up to two years as long as it is renewed before March 6, 2018. People who have received DACA benefits will not be made a priority for deportation unless they commit crimes.

Although Trump’s method of removal for DACA is not as harmful and severe as the media has portrayed, I still do not support this movement.  Obama made a statement about the children of immigrants.  “These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.”  I strongly agree with this statement.  Dreamers were not brought here by choice, they know no other country and have continuously lived in the United States almost their entire life.  They grew up here, learning in our schools by our standards, learning our customs and our values.  They’ve made connections with our people and usually do not know much about their home country.  America is their home country.

Although Homeland Security is claiming they will not target members of the DACA community, this does not mean the members are safe from deportation.  Putting them at risk is wrong.  Dreamers now have to make plans to leave and go back to a country in which they are unfamiliar and may not even speak the language of.  The situation is similar to throwing a feral child into a city and saying, “Here you go, find your way!”

Rather than stripping away Dreamer’s rights to the American Dream and making it harder for them to stay here, why don’t we give Dreamers a better path to gaining their citizenship?  Getting citizenship is extremely hard to do and is a very long process.  Dreamers have the option to obtain Green Cards or Permanent Residence through employment with the LIFE Act Protection but most of the time they still have to return to their birth country in order to finish the process.  This is because of their initial illegal entrance into the country.  Which again, they had no choice in.  As I see it,  in a Dreamer’s case we should create a new path so they are able to become official Americans on paper, along with the American identity in their hearts and in their minds.

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