Why You Should Care About DACA

Yami Ruiz, Business Manager

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Deferred Action of Childhood arrivals (DACA)

  On Tuesday, September 5th, Donald Trump made a tweet that put 800,000 undocumented immigrants in a position of worry: ”Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!”.

  This was also the day that Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end to the DACA program. DACA was the program that protected many undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US by their parents as infants, or even toddlers. They may now face deportation to a place they did NOT grow up in, and they may know absolutely nothing about. Why is it okay to put thousands of people in a very uncomfortable position, when everything was finally going great for these people (who also happen to be members of our society)? With this announcement, many worlds began to crumble down. After all the hard work to be productive members of society, DACA kids feel as if everything they worked for no longer matters…… WRONG!!!

Of course 800,000 people are afraid of the things that could happen to them in the next six months or so, but who wouldn’t be? The thought of being deported to a country they barely ever lived in is beginning to haunt them daily since the announcement on September 5th, 2017. But this fear is not going to keep them from Dreaming, from working hard to reach their dreams, from making something positive of themselves. Do any of the people against DACA even know what it’s actually all about? How it works or what these individuals have to go through in order to continue to get a job to support themselves and their families even to continue to go to school? Well, this is for all of you who don’t necessarily know about it either.

  To receive DACA status, youths must file an application to obtain a work permit and social security number; their work permits usually expire after two years, but they can usually file an application to renew six months before the expiration date. It’s not something as simple as submitting an application and within a blink of an eye, they have a new work permit. Instead, these individuals have to go through numerous background checks to confirm they are not criminals. (Their records basically have to be 100% clean in order to qualify.) They must invest thousands of dollars to file a new application in order to continue working every 2 years! Many people that are against these individuals sometimes don’t really understand everything these teenagers (or adults ) have to endure to have the opportunity to make a living in the U.S. DACA recipients pay taxes yearly just like every other person does. They cannot get any medical insurance, such as Medicaid or Obamacare, unless they are receiving it from an employer, spouse, or going to a community clinic.

Many people also believe that DACA students go to college for free; this is a myth. DACA recipients are NOT eligible to obtain Federal Financial Aid, although some states allow them to pay in-state tuition. Otherwise, they have to completely pay for college directly out of their pocket.

You’re probably wondering, “Why don’t they just apply for citizenship?” Well, another myth people usually believe about the daca program is that this is (or was) a pathway to citizenship. In no way does this program lead to citizenship. It strictly only protects these individuals from deportation and allows them to work and get an education. The only way for the Dreamers to file for citizenship is by becoming permanent residents, but for this, a close family member who is a U.S. citizen needs to petition on their behalf. But even then this takes time — an average of 30 years.

If these dreamers were to get deported, the U.S. economy would definitely be impacted by this. According to a recent article on AZ Central.com, ”The report, based on a study that found that nearly 700,000, or 91 percent, of DACA recipients have jobs, says removing DACA recipients from the workforce will cost the U.S. GDP $460 billion over 10 years. It would also cost employers $3.4 billion in turnover costs to replace lost workers and reduce contributions to Medicare and Social Security by $24.6 billion over 10 years” (Nanez and Gomez, “10 Things to Know About 800K DACA Recipients”).

For now all that these DACA recipients can do is renew their work permit one last time by October 5th, 2017 (if it expires in March of 2018). All that these bright individuals want is a better future, to be able to become someone positive and successful. No one should be denied this opportunity. There are now too many of them living in fear and worrying that they are no longer going to be able accomplish what they wanted. It does seem that quite a few American citizens are in favor of keeping the DACA program, but the current federal government does not support it. There are stories about how quite a few American citizens want to adopt Dreamers to that they can legally stay in the country. It’s good to see there are still people with good hearts and intentions. All that we can do now is hope that in the next few months Congress comes up with a positive solution for this chaotic situation.


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Why You Should Care About DACA