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Op-Ed on DACA: The Broken-Winged Bird, and Dreams Deferred

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has been stopped by President Donald Trump, and the fate of all Dreamers is left unsure.

DACA was a program for children born in another country and brought to the United States at a young age. The program allowed the recipients to have work permits and protect them from deportation. The Obama Administration enacted DACA, and the program has helped mobilize over 800,000 people. Contrary to popular belief, DACA recipients have certain eligibility requirements that they have to hold in order to be a recipient. These include being younger than 31 years old, having a clean criminal record, and must be a student or be in the military.

Terminating DACA clipped the wings off Dreamers and awoke them to the harsh reality that
most people of color and immigrants are already aware of.

On October 3, the Black Student Union hosted the “Always a Dreamer” discussion about immigration and DACA. Students discussed how America was built on the backs of immigrants, but people with darker skin are not easily accepted. It’s interesting to see how fast European immigrants can assimilate into American culture and be accepted, especially compared to a brown person from Mexico, China, India, or the Dominican Republic.

One student asked, “how does a person come to the United States the right way?” The answer is not simple.

According to the Immigration Council of America, a person applying for temporary or permanent residence is considered in the categories of employment, family connections, or humanitarian protection. These are the ways to enter the United States legally, but most immigrants are not eligible under these three categories.

There is also a limited number of immigrants that can come from certain countries, so a family or individual can be denied if there are too many immigrants coming from their home country. Most people applying for temporary or permanent residence have no familial ties in the United States and do not have the required higher education for employment based sponsorship. In addition, they cannot wait through the visa process if they are escaping persecution from their home government on the basis of race, ethnic origin, or religion.

Immigration policies tend to favor a minority of people. This includes people who already wealthy, middle class, educated, European immigrants over those who are living in absolute poverty, fear for their lives, and are brown.

Here in Boston, where the top three immigrant groups are from the Dominican Republic, China, and Haiti, around 54.5 percent of Boston Public School students speak only English at home. This means that almost half of Boston’s students speak another language at home.

Currently, Boston is home to a Spanish bilingual school in Roxbury, and is continuing to welcome many immigrants. Boston’s effort to cater to their communities coming from other countries is depicted by their implementation of Boston’s first bilingual school in Haitian Creole and English in the fall of 2017.

Still, while Boston may cherish its diverse citizens, we cannot forget that our votes put President Donald Trump in the Oval Office and gave him the power to divide this nation even more. We cannot ignore the racism and hypocrisy that fueled the halt of DACA and the policies that prevent certain demographics from immigrating. To do so would be ignorant and very oblivious of the United States’ past in relation to immigration discrimination.

DACA did protect many undocumented immigrants from deportation. It also gave recipients a chance to explore their potential and live a better life. Still, DACA does not provide a pathway to citizenship. Though DACA is halted right now, I hope Congress can find a remedy to aid unauthorized immigrants in becoming citizens and do the right thing. After all, this land was built on the American Dream and the possibility of upward mobility for all.

Let’s not do a halfway job of protecting undocumented and future immigrants. It’s time that we give this generation of immigrants the same chance as those who came here through Ellis Island.

Shayane Dalencourt-Simon ’20

Black Student Union Treasurer.

Posted by on October 19, 2017. Filed under Around Boston. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.