For the past five years immigrant students known as Dreamers have been able to pursue their education without the threat of being deported. By immigrant students, I refer to the children that have been brought to the United States illegally by their parents at an early age. DACA is program that was founded under the Obama Administration in 2012. In early September of 2017 President Donald Trump and his administration announced that the DACA program would come to an end. Congress was given approximately sixth months to come up with a solution for DACA students who would face deportation without the protection of DACA. This announcement comes at a time when most DACA students are actually starting school. The thought of deportation has lingered in the back of immigrant minds ever since Trump announced that he would be running for the 2017 Presidential Election. It is well known that once elected Trump intended to address pressing issues the United States has faced with illegal immigrants crossing the boarders. And thus began the war between immigrants and the Trump Administration. Undocumented citizens began living in fear of the unknown.
The threat of deportation affected families all over the nation. Many students took comfort in the fact that they were in fact DACA students and would be protected by the U.S. legislation from deportation. Now that DACA has ended, undocumented students previously protected by the program have felt betrayed and wronged by our government. Protests have begun once again to make a stance against the DACA program ending. Campuses all over the nation have established DACA assistance programs in order to help undocumented students know their rights and be prepared for the possible outcomes they face. The outpour of support from communities that stand with DACA students has flooded in from every corner of the nation. Surprisingly over half of the nation’s voters agree that Trump has wrongly ended the DACA program according to Huffington Post. I feel intensely close to this topic not only because of the region I live in, but because of my relationships with students that are in fact DACA students. Las Cruces New Mexico is only a hop skip and a jump away from the boarder of Mexico.
I have lived in New Mexico all of my life and have met immigrant students throughout every year of my schooling. It wasn’t until moving to Las Cruces that I became extremely aware of just how many students emigrated from Mexico. Some of them have been able to move to the States legally and some have been brought to the United States as infants illegally by their parents. The issue people seem to face with removing the DACA program is that, these children had no say in whether they wanted to come to the U.S. or not. The majority of them can’t even remember leaving their native country. To them, the United States is home and they know nothing else. Some students have relayed that although they are from a foreign nation, they are American in their hearts. Another concept people can’t seem to wrap their heads around is how our government can deny anyone the right to an education they are paying completely out of pocket for. It is not possible for DACA students to receive any financial aid, from the university or the government. Any scholarships obtained by a DACA students are completely private. It is also extremely hard for DACA students to receive any private loans due to their lack of citizenship.
As a student, I never want to another student to be denied an education because of where they come from. Of the many DACA students I’ve met, not one single one seemed at all unmotivated or lacked ambition. My heart has broken for all those who fear they will never be able to achieve their dreams to their legal status as an immigrant. As I mentioned earlier, being in such a close proximity to Mexico has really opened my eyes as to what life as a DACA student means. Luckily, there are resources for DACA students who are fearful of deportation. People have banned together to provide educational and free legal advice to DACA students. If you find yourself in this situation, be calm and take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. There are millions of people rooting for you and doing whatever they can to ensure that you will remain safely in the United States until your education is complete. Also, do what you can to prepare yourself for what may lie ahead. Talk to whoever you can and educate yourself as much as possible. I know that I will do my part to ensure that NMSU does all that they can for DACA students. Unitedwedream.org has not only started social media movements but provides tons of information for DACA students and those in support of the program. If you are interest, visit the website and take action. College is already so stressful, with all of the homework, exams, and extracurricular activities needed to even find a job after graduation, the last thing someone should be worried about, is if they’ll even get a chance to walk across the stage to their diploma.