It is hard to think about Miami without thinking about the immigrant community that built it into the bustling city it is today. With that image in mind, it becomes abundantly clear that the Trump administration’s recent decision to end the DACA program is of great concern here in South Florida.
DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has protected nearly 800,000 young adult unauthorized immigrants from deportation and allowed them to work legally since 2012. Many of the immigrants granted DACA protection were brought to the United States as children; entering the program through vetting and with many requirements, ensuring only the upmost people received protection from deportation. The program created during the Obama administration has helped many young people begin to build lives and futures in what is most likely the only place they call home.
With many of the DACA recipients being in their 20s, many of the immigrants facing this new level of uncertainty will be college students; bright minds contributing so much to a country that has placed their futures in limbo. The community in Miami and immigrant rights activists convened in front of downtown Miami’s Freedom Tower to let their disagreement with the Trump administration’s decision be known. As the FIU community, a place of higher education for many immigrant students, will surely be affected by this decision, President Rosenberg issued a statement after the White House’s decision. In the email to students President Rosenberg encouraged “all DACA students who are enrolled at FIU to stay in school and work hard to finish their degrees as soon as possible.” Providing information for concerned students to reach out to the Carlos Alberto Costa Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at 305-348-7541 or via email ([email protected]).
While many DACA recipients might feel their lives once again in a place of uncertainty, it is important not to despair and stay informed. According to the Department of Homeland Security, “existing DACA participants whose eligibility expires between now and March 5 have until Oct. 5 to apply for renewal.” No new applications will be accepted as of September 6 and moving forward. Trump’s decision leaves a sharply divided Congress to find an alternative immigration policy to DACA in six months, a feat not many believe will be accomplished. Although according to NPR, “at the moment there are at least two bipartisan bills that could grant legal status or create a pathway to citizenship for those who were eligible for DACA.” A new version of the DREAM Act and the American Hope Act, introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., respectively.
For more information, resources and ways to take action you can visit the United We Dream website. It is most important to reiterate that immigrants that see themselves affected by the decisions made regarding DACA are not alone. There are thousands and thousands of people that are fighting for you and that stand with you.