DACA? Dreamer? Who Are You?

I'm a striving college student, just like you - but I run the risk of getting deported.

Hello. My name is X, I cannot tell you my name as a precaution, but I thank you for taking your time to read this article.

Yes, I am a Dreamer, and one of 800,000 DACA recipients who are in waiting to see the outcome of President Trump's decision on Sept. 5, 2017.

With this article, I hope to be able to answer some of your questions and doubts about us.

What is DACA and what is a Dreamer?

In the simplest terms, DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, enacted through an executive order by President Barack Obama in 2012. This program has allowed me to not only be able to live in The United States without the fear or getting deported, but it has also given me a social security card and a work permit, allowing me to both work and pay taxes. My permit lasts for two years, at which point I will then have to file to renew.

"Dreamer" is a term that is stuck to us, the children of immigrants who were brought across the borders as kids. There have been times in which a DREAM Act has been tried to get passed through legislation, giving us permanent solution to stay here in the United States, but it has failed. Yet, the term "Dreamer" stuck, because ultimately it is what we are.

But, if you want a little bit more information that may also be more clear, please see this article for more information.

What's your story?

I was brought to the United States, when I was almost two years old, by my parents in hopes of a better life for me here in the United States. My parents knew that they could never provide me with the life they wanted me to have if they stayed in their country, thus prompting us to move the United States.

My parents have worked humble jobs and, yes, from the moment they have arrived, they paid taxes loyally to the United States every single year. My family has never committed a crime and we respect the laws.

Image source: Pexels

Are DACA recipients potential criminals?

Part of the process for getting your DACA approved is going through a background check. So yes, I filled out a lengthy application (it costs $495 every time), and within the application, we are asked if we have ever been arrested, and that already puts an application in jeopardy and makes it not likely to get approved.

Also, every DACA applicant goes through a biometric test and a full background check. Thus, at 15 years old, there I was getting my finger prints done in a USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) location along with answering even more questions of who I am and where I come from.

So, we can conclude that I, along with other DACA recipients, are not criminals.

What are you then?

As of now, I am just like you. I worked hard, constantly trying to prove my worth not only to myself but for this country, and I am now a college student attending the University of California, Davis, working a job to pay for college, attending classes, and hoping that I will pass that midterm or final.

I am just like you, except, I do not qualify for all the same financial aid as you do, I cannot travel the abroad at the moment, and I cannot say for certain that yes, two years from now I will still be here with no dramatic changes in my life, such as what my legal status is, and of course, my birth certificate not saying United States of America.

Image source: Pexels, Leah Kelley

What happens next?

A month ago, a federal judge made the decision to block Trump administration plans to phase out DACA, and some of us were able to renew in a law suit being led by our very own UC President Janet Napolitano. Still, this is not the end, as the Trump administration is not happy with the outcome and will move to challenge the decision.

So again, we wait. (Editor's note: As of Feb. 13, another federal court in New York has blocked Trump's decision to end DACA.)

Image source: Pexels, Andrii Nikolaienko

We wait and we fight, as much as we can. It is February and there is still no solution for DACA as we near March 6, 2018 - Trump's deadline for congress to find a legislative solution. As always, I suggest to take time and at least be informed of who DACA or Dreamers are, and not form any potential negative opinions about us, before knowing our story. Finally, if you ever have the time, call your local representative and ask them to take action. Time is running out.

How are you?

Although this entire situation is not the best, I am optimistic. Although it was very early still, I was able to submit my application to renew my DACA while I still can. Whether or not I will get the full two years is up in the air still, but for now I await yet another biometrics appointment.

Again, I am optimistic and I will return soon with another article, hopefully with good news.

Image source: Pexels, Craig Dennis

If you are an AB540 Student or Undocumented, or simply want more information, I encourage you to check out our AB540 Student and Undocumented Center here in UC Davis.

If you want to hear another story about another fellow UC Davis DACA student, check out this video created by UC Davis Student Alex Fisher Wagner.

Cover image source: Pexels