I’m sure by now that anyone who is engrossed in politics knows about the DACA program, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy that President Obama had implemented back in 2012. The policy allowed undocumented immigrants brought to America as children to work and attend school legally for two years, as long as they commit no crimes and met certain educational requirements. But under President Trump, on September 2017, he made the announcement to end the program, not ending it outright, but making the choice for DACA recipients to no longer gain the benefits of the DACA program. Their status would be expired on March 5th. Congress would need to reach an ultimatum or the 700,000 other so-called Dreamers risk deportation.
Latino politicians, celebrities, journalists, and activists reacted to DACA repeal news via Twitter and press statements shortly after it was announced. Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, also immediately announced his resignation from Trump’s National Diversity Coalition. “This disgraceful action goes against not only the values of this country, but also against the promise of this administration to focus homeland security resources towards individuals who have committed violent crimes and pose a threat to communities across the country,” Palomarez wrote in a press statement following the news.
It isn’t only the fear that they might be deported back to a country that they haven’t lived in, nor know the people or laws, it is the blatant racism that they have experienced throughout the year. “Sometimes, at high school sporting events, the reference to Trump is followed by an even more troubling chant: ‘USA! USA! USA!’ That’s the line, folks. Don’t cross it; Last year, the girl’s soccer team from Beloit Memorial High School in Wisconsin, which is made up largely of Latinas, left the field traumatized after fans of the team from Elkhorn Area High School chanted: ‘Donald Trump, build that wall!’”
The immigration process is very long and expensive, and at the end, it doesn’t seem worth it if you’re denied. When I talked to my friend Bella Molina, an Italian-Mexican American and first year Wells College student from California, she revealed to me one instant that changed her life. “I was working in a pizza shop, and it was right after Trump got elected into presidency. One of my friends who also works there, who was in his late forties, was standing there since it was a slow day. All of a sudden a guy comes in and rests his arms on the counter, staring at him, and says, ‘Thank God for our new ‘Presidente.’ And then right before he leaves, ‘He’s going to send you back to Mexico…every God damned one of you.’ And then stands outside the establishment to stare at my friend, who ignored him. This was all back in November before I came to Wells.’’
Unfortunately, there is a high waitlist to obtain citizenship in the United States. It extremely expensive to attain one, and it takes about nine months for it to be determined, with a 2% denial rate, which basically means that those who are denied would be sent back to their country of origin. Molina’s father, who is Italian-born, wants to attain his green card so that he would be able to stay with his family. The law will return to where it was before 2012. If the court’s ruling is unfavorable to DACA, Dreamers no matter how young will be subjected to deportation.Though that does not mean all will be deported, it still causes tension and anxiety to an already tense country, where suddenly it is seen as wrong to be an immigrant. Because America, whether you like it or not, was built on a nation of immigrants, and it is time we stand with them.