Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—a five-year-old Obama era policy. Congress has been given a six-month window until March 5 to come up with an alternate deal. As of Wednesday night, negotiations are ongoing.
In June 2012, President Barack Obama announced DACA’s implementation. The policy allowed immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children to forego deportation and obtain renewable two-year visas. Applicants had to be no older than 31 as of June 15 of that year, and must have come to the U.S. before they turned 16.
In addition to protection from deportation, immigrants under DACA are given social security numbers and access to legitimate jobs and to college scholarships.
According to Pew Research Center, some 1.7 million immigrants could have benefited. Now, almost 790,000 approved DACA recipients are in danger of losing their visas. Recipients who are up for renewal by March 5 may renew for $495 before Oct. 5. Others whose visas do not expire for more than six months are in danger of losing all protection in March when DACA is set to end. No additional people may apply.
Trump has said that DREAMers (those protected under DACA) are not a Department of Homeland Security priority.
On the campaign trail, President Trump promised DACA would be one of the first cuts he made in office, though he made no immediate executive action regarding the policy. In June a group of attorneys general, led by Ken Paxton of Texas, threatened to add DACA litigation to a 2014 suit against Obama-era protections, consequently forcing President Trump’s hand.
In response to the cut, some 15 states, including Washington, New York, Virginia and California, have now filed a lawsuit against DACA’s termination. Across the U.S. some groups are setting up scholarships and GoFundMe pages for the DREAMers benefiting from DACA.
We at The Spectator recognize the importance of DACA and other pathways to legal residency in the United States. We believe that every person previously protected under DACA should be able to live, work, and learn in the United States without fear of deportation. Those who benefit from DACA face deportation to countries they may have no memories of, let alone ties to.
Essentially, Congress is debating over the lives of thousands of young adults and children who did not choose to come to this country. The people who benefit from DACA could have grown up with any of us, and they deserve the same opportunities. Those who applied for DACA are seeking social betterment through jobs and education and should not be used as a political pawn.
We encourage students, faculty and staff to contact their congressperson and voice their opinions on DACA. Those who are able and willing should donate to funds for those DREAMers seeking DACA renewal.
For any students protected under DACA who attend VSU, The Spectator would like to extend our support and encourage you to speak out. If you would like to tell your story, please contact us.
This editorial was written by a member of the editorial staff and expresses the general opinion of The Spectator.