A broken promise: government officials challenge DACA



Protesters have marched nationwide from New York to Los Angeles, rallying against the likelihood of President Trump to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA protected young “Dreamers” from being deported, gave them work permits and health care, and allowed them to attend college. Former Schreiber student Paula Nuñez reflects on her experience as a DACA recipient and the current sentiment against the plan that has protected her for years.

Camila Medrano, Contributing Writer

           President Trump has decided to end The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protected around 800,000 undocumented immigrants that came to the United States as children.  After the decision was made, the Department of Homeland Security stated that the program would be phased out with an official end in six months.  These immigrants —often referred to as “Dreamers”—came out of the shadows en masse and were able to get Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses.  They could drive to school and work, or purchase homes and cars, and even start their own business.

Recent studies showed that 25% of Dreamers now have children.  Their children are overwhelmed by fear of losing their parents and family members if they are subject to deportation.

“DACA has helped me in more ways than possible by granting me a work permit.  I was able to help my mom financially by paying the bills, getting health insurance and actually visiting a doctor, going to college at an in-state tuition, and paying taxes,” said former Schreiber student Paulina Nuñez.  “But most importantly, DACA gave me the security that I wouldn’t be at risk of deportation.”

Just a few months from now, DACA recipients like Paulina will start losing their work permits, college benefits, and legal right to live in this country, along with their security and social and economic stability.

“Growing up here and constantly hearing the horror stories about deportations in the Latino communities is a fear that all immigrants face,” said Nuñez. “Once I received DACA, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin.”

The constant argument for deporting undocumented immigrants is defended by the fact that they violated federal law.  However, the vast majority of Dreamers were brought into the United States by their parents; studies say that children were brought into the country at an average age of 6.5.  Therefore, they did not come by their own choice and were not responsible for the impact of their actions.

“Coming to the United States as a child, you’re obviously clueless as to what the immigration laws are and how they will affect you.  In most cases, parents are also unaware of the repercussions that their children will face for coming to this country illegally,” said Nuñez.

The majority of DACA recipients hold no memory of their countries of origin.  These individuals belong in the United States, the only home they’ve ever known.

Ending DACA is sheer moral obtuseness.  The Dreamers have given the government sensitive personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers and fingerprints as requirements for their application process.  Since they have had to renew their DACA permit every two years, their status has always remained temporary.  They have entrusted the government with their personal data at the comfort of knowing that their information would not be used against them.  Now, the government has turned against them.

Children who have fled from violence and poverty, whether of their own volition, were promised that as Dreamers, they would be safe here, and allowed to fulfill their American Dream.  This promise is not the current President’s promise to break.  These children are just as American as everyone elsethe only difference being that they weren’t born here,” said senior Morgan Atlas. 

Moreover, ending DACA would negatively impact the U.S. economy.  Economists have found clear evidence of the positive impact of immigrants, and Dreamers represent a massive proportion of the productive participants of society.  Without the DACA recipients’ contribution to the economy, the GDP would lose $433.4 billion over the next decade.  Indeed, immigrants are not only workers, but also consumers.

“DACA does not only help young immigrants, but boosts our overall economy.  DACA should continue operating,” said senior Angad Saraon.

This is the time when our moral sense comes into play.  What kind of nation are we?  How do we want to treat our neighbors?

“Once I received DACA, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin,””

— said Schreiber alumna Paulina Nuñez