DACA: Pawn or Opportunity?

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DACA: Pawn or Opportunity?

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In today’s modern society it is vital for individuals to receive a tangible education to obtain a good paying job. In regards to those who live in countries which do not have the same opportunities, many look towards the United States to progress their educational and economic prospects. Many of these individuals were brought over by their parents as children in a new country which did not value them as equals to citizens, despite their relocation being out of their control.

Luckily the U.S. Congress, under the Obama administration, enacted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in order to help undocumented individuals become integrated into the educational system, allowing for them to also gain protection against deportation. This administrative action has become the lighthouse for many undocumented students. However, it is being treated as more of a trading pawn in the current political climate.

CNN has informed people that Trump has terminated the program as of September 2017, leaving 800,000 undocumented residents in a state of uncertainty. Luckily, Congress has decided to take no action on the issue, leaving DACA in effect for those who are already registered. The darkest aspect of this situation are the hidden motives which have driven these decisions.

The Trump administration is not concerned with the lives of these undocumented students but rather, they are using DACA as leverage for the border wall’s funding. The government has come to a standoff because Democrats say that they will withhold votes on a funding bill if Republicans won’t agree to a solution for DACA, which threatens the legal status of thousands.

On the other end, Republicans say that they will not pass a concise DACA bill without proper funding for border security, more specifically the wall. It is evident that the Trump administration is less concerned with acknowledging the undocumented demographic as an equal part and is looking to use them as a way to carry out their own agendas.

Obama shed some light on the issue in a rare statement where he says “Let’s be clear: The action taken today isn’t required legally, … It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.”

It is clear that these decisions derive from a darker source which reflects the negative attitudes towards undocumented individuals in this country’s current state. It is no secret that anti-immigrant sentiments have been on the rise and these preconceived notions have directly affected a community which had no choice in relocation.

Despite the clear issue at hand, this interaction between the government and its citizens is indicative of a less clear narrative which has become commonplace due to misconceptions which are being broadcast in the media, specifically by Trump. This calls for students, teachers, and all individuals in our community to vote and use their voice in order to promote a more inclusive America.

What is DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)?

Courtesy of uscis.gov

DACA was enacted on June 15, 2012, announced by the Secretary of Homeland Security. DACA gives the opportunity for individuals who came as children to the U.S. and meet multiple guidelines to request consideration of deferred action and work authorization for a length of two years.

 

This means that individuals who qualify will be protected by deferred action which is used as a “prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time.”

 

It is important to note that DACA does not “provide lawful status” and will not be granted to those who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA.

What are the guidelines of qualification for DACA?

 

You may request DACA if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honourably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.