Dillon Buckley/ Staff Writer
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program introduced in June of 2012 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This program allows the children of undocumented
immigrants to attend schools or work in the U.S., as long as these people are able to provide proof that they were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16 years old, resided in the U.S. since 2007, and that they are completing or have completed high school education by the time of their application (or that they are a member of the U.S. military or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military). Under this program, the immigration decisions of these individuals, referred to as Dreamers, are deferred for a period of 2 years, after which time they must reapply for DACA, apply for citizenship, or a green card.
As of September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration (via the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) is aiming to end this program. No more DACA applications will be considered, but all applications submitted before September 5th will be given full consideration, but the U.S. Immigration Office, and current beneficiaries will retain their benefits for the duration of their allotted two years, and can renew their benefits if they apply before October 8th. Despite this fact, however, once DACA expires for these Dreamers, they may be subject to immigration action, and forced to return to the country they originated from. This has the potential to uproot the lives of around 800,000 Dreamers that are building their lives in the U.S. as a result of DACA.
There have been reports, however, that President Trump has been in negotiation with Democratic Party leaders as of September 21, 2017, on passing legislation that would protect Dreamers already benefiting from DACA. This allegedly angered many Republican Congressmen, who supported Trump’s original campaign promise to end DACA completely and secure U.S. borders. Allowing Dreamers to remain in the U.S. under new legislation would be a short-lived victory for anyone enjoying these benefits, as these people face the possibility of having to return to a country that they do not know and have not lived in since they were small children. Without new legislation, Dreamers will lose the opportunity to continue building lives in the only country where they truly feel at home. Statistically speaking, the majority of Dreamers hail from Mexico, but if forced to return have no means of survival, as they will be without their families and financial support. It is painful to imagine the possibility of children who are just approaching adulthood being forced to go back to a country they do not know, only to find that there is no life for them there. All of their dreams will be crushed, and in this new and unfamiliar place they must learn to survive from very little. All we can do is hope and pray that legislation is passed to protect these children, as they have a bright future ahead of them in the U.S., and stripping that from them will cause unimaginable pain and distress.