Dreamers must be protected

A threat has been lingering over the heads of some 800,000 individuals since the beginning of this month, when Trump announced he would be rescinding DACA, otherwise known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

These individuals help make up the people in our community ― our neighbors, our teachers, our peers and our co-workers. Unless these people had ever told you personally that they were a DACA recipient, you probably wouldn’t have known otherwise. The average DACA recipient came to the US at the age of six, they speak fluent English and don’t know any other home besides the United States. Being an immigrant put them at a significant disadvantage, especially when trying to afford a higher education, but a majority still managed to be productive, successful members of society.

What separates a DACA recipient from you? A piece of paper. United States citizens didn’t “work hard” to be born here, it was a matter of circumstance.  In order to qualify for DACA, immigrants had to be brought to the United States before the age of 16. Being so young when they came here, it isn’t like they could just say “No mom, I’m staying here.”

So what is driving Trump and his supporters to want to end the hopes of these people? Prejudice and pure misinformation: The discrimination against Latinos and other people of color who want nothing more than an opportunity to work hard for the American dream.

It’s that discrimination that drives Jeff Sessions to address the American people with complete falsehoods by stating that DACA “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”

There is no evidence to back this statement up, when in actuality, most economists see immigration as being beneficial for the economy.  Various studies have also found that immigrants do not commit crimes at a higher rate than non-citizens, and DACA holders cannot be eligible for the program if they commit a felony or significant misdemeanor.

Yet people still base their motives on wanting to end DACA by stating that “immigrants are stealing American jobs,” or “they’re criminals,” or “they get free education and my kid has to pay.” These are claims without citations, but they’ll never see past their own ignorance.

The United States is land founded on immigration, and stolen from the Natives who lived here first. We are in no place to deny people opportunity, and until our immigration system sees some serious reforms, it is inhumane to deport thousands of people who know no other home besides America. It is time that we place our morality above legality. Many of these dreamers have gone on to be doctors, teachers, soldiers risking their lives in our military and Trump is shooting America in the foot by turning his back on them.

Luckily, much of America stands with Dreamers. Universities in California and all around the United States are doing what they can to protect their students who want nothing more than to be productive members of society. It is an ugly, cruel act on behalf of the Trump Administration, but hopefully we can help these Americans continue to live their dream.  

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Natalia Gevara

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