In the midst of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, another national disaster has occurred this month. It is not one that will bring high tides, flooding and intense winds, but it will bring broken homes, separated families and a dependence on us to act to fix it. Last Tuesday, Sept. 5, Trump announced his plans to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), an Obama-era immigration program implemented to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought into America as children, with a six month delay to give Congress time to act. Approximately 800,000 immigrants are currently benefitting from the program, which provides two year windows of protection and the possibility of a work permit.
There’s no sacrifice by the government being made for them — they are making all the sacrifices.
According to data from Educators for Fair Consideration, which advocates for undocumented immigrants, 2.1 million people in the United States might qualify for DACA deferrals. The nonprofit also estimates that roughly 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate from high school each year, but only 10,000 graduate from college. A large factor of this has to do with financial aid — DACA recipients are not eligible for federal financial aid, so they are forced to fund their college career solely out of their own pocket and private scholarships. For students like Victoria Cabellos ‘20, the end of DACA hits close to home. About 25 years ago, Cabellos’s mother immigrated to America from Uruguay. She and her brother grew up in Washington, D.C., where her school was more than 60 percent Spanish and Latinx. “If you didn’t speak two languages, you were the minority,” Cabellos shared. An end to DACA means fear for her friends who call this country home. “They’re saying they have to lay low because they’re DACA recipients. It’s terrifying when that’s what I see. They’re all amazing people, they’re smart, they’re contributing to society. There’s no sacrifice by the government being made for them — they are making all the sacrifices. This is their home, this is where they grew up.”
In a country that prides itself so much on the ‘American Dream,’ we must advocate for the DREAMers. It is our responsibility to band together and fight with every ounce of our being to save this program. In the next few months, unity, organization and resistance will be more crucial than ever. Attend protests. Join an immigration advocacy group. Get involved in the Multicultural Center. Educate yourself and talk about DACA. And most importantly, contact your representatives. Text DefendDACA to 877877 to find your representative to call.