A New Dream(er)

As we all know, DACA has been disbanded by our current administration. Whether they are “your” administration or not, it’s who we are dealing with. My feelings on DACA are mixed. Conflicted if you will. As an immigrant myself, who once lived here illegally, I feel for DACA recipients. I feel their worries and fears and I understand their struggles, but DACA was put into place without long term thought. DACA was a band-aid for a bleeding wound, an unconstitutional remedy that the current administration is attempting to resolve (we hope). We all know that there are some 800,000 Dreamers out there, but the implications of disbanding DACA will reach a far greater number than that. We need a solution and we need it soon.

Photo Credit: Molly Adams, LA March for Immigrant Rights, CC BY-2.0

Earned Their Way

For these Dream(ers), DACA gave them a way to live without fear. DACA brought them out of hiding and into society. DACA enabled immigrants who were brought here illegally as children to obtain licenses, attend school and work in their communities and gave them a feeling of citizenship and belonging. DACA recipients ARE Americans. America is what they know. America is where they were raised, and America is where they call home. I cannot imagine facing the reality of being sent “home” to a country I no longer knew. DACA recipients had no choice in their arrival here and therefore should not have to fear deportation. Their families fled their home nations for many reasons. Who are we to send them back to what they left behind? Whether they left because of wars and violence or simply for a better life, they didn’t leave because it was the easy choice; they left because it was the best choice. Under DACA, recipients have to apply, pay for and pass background checks to continue in the program. With DACA immigrant families are being pulled from poverty and the program has even benefitted the economy. As an immigrant, American Citizen and Veteran I believe that everybody has the right to establish roots in this country and have the opportunity to live “the American Dream”. We were all immigrants, or descendants of immigrants.

A Call to Action

Congress needs to find a permanent solution for our immigration system. DACA recipients deserve their place, here, on American soil. Currently there is no “path to citizenship” for DACA recipients. None. They can work here, pay taxes, contribute to our economy but they can’t be a part of “us”. Congress has been given 6 months to come up with a solution. 6 months to repair a decades long problem. This country was built on immigrants and flourished because of the hard work of immigrants and citizens alike, working together towards the same goal. I want to continue to live in an America where we can all be accepted and unafraid. I want to work hand in hand with my neighbors, no matter what languages and cultures may make up our differences. DACA recipients don’t need another band-aid, they need and deserve their citizenship.