The acronym DACA stands for “The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” DACA was an American immigration policy that allowed individuals who entered the country illegally as minors to receive a renewable two-year period where they’re protected from being deported and eligible for work.
More than 800,000 people are affected by the executive order that was put in place by our previous President, Barack Obama. Now that Congress has 6 months to find a replacement, these DACA recipients are frightened and their lives are being put on hold.
Mr. Miller, English teacher and Journalism advisor, gave his opinion and personal experience on the topic. Mr. Miller said, “It’s an Obama era executive order. ‘Deferred Action’ means that we’re not going to prosecute. The federal government is not going to prosecute or deport the children who were brought here when they were young. It’s an executive order, and the unfortunate part is, it doesn’t last. It’s not a law, it’s sort of like a post it note. So then the next President can come in and throw it away which is unfortunate because it’s people’s lives.”
DACA is a work permit, meaning you have to renew it every 3 years. Americans who have DACA are now disturbed by the fact that once they apply to renew, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), will know that they are illegally present in the United States. Therefore, making them a target for deportation.
Miller had two students who were in his AVID class for four years who were brought here illegally. When they were brought here, one was 2 days old and the other was 2 years old, a girl and a boy. Mr. Miller said, “They didn’t know, had never been back to Mexico, they don’t have a hometown, they don’t have anywhere else to go.” The 2 day old student was sent here on a bus with a stranger and was raised by that family.
They went through the educational system here, spoke English better than the next person, took AP classes, Honor classes and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. When it came to applying for colleges, they couldn’t apply for federal student aid or loans because they weren’t citizens. They both didn’t go to college.
Miller said that the 2 day old, now a 30 year old woman, contacted him a few days ago saying she’s starting back at COS. She’s got a family and a husband who’s a citizen which is in turn, giving her citizenship.
DACA would have helped these people live less scared. These are good people, not criminals. Their lives are different because they had to live in the shadows.
Mrs. Romo, English teacher, had her own insight about DACA. Mrs. Romo said, “I had a few kids who would have benefited from it, so I helped them with their applications for college and they had the same opportunities as their classmates. This year those kids won’t have that much help, so my advice to those kids is don’t give up because there’s the DREAM Act,” Romo says, “They just won’t have the same amount of help now that DACA has been removed.”
Joseph Kim, ‘18, who had an opinion and understanding of DACA told us his outlook. “ I think it provides a good opportunity for people that don’t necessarily have the same opportunity as everyone else.” Kim told us.
Kim thought that DACA should not have been taken away because he feels that the people who are supported by DACA have the potential to do well in this country. Kim continued on to say, “Obviously they were devastated and I feel that the older are able to handle that, but for the younger, it will hard for them to adjust.”
Daniela Carlos, ‘21, whom has a brief understanding of DACA, gave us her stance on DACA as well. Carlos said, “I just know that kids from different countries came here to America. I mean it’s a good thing but it’s sad that it’s getting taken away because minors came here to learn and live a better life but now they can’t, they have to leave. It’s hard for the people being deported when all they know, is here in America.”
“I think it should be a law, it shouldn’t just be taken away like that, I don’t think it should be that easy. It shouldn’t just be the President’s decision, it should be everybody’s, it’s affecting we, the people’s lives too.” Carlos carried on to tell us.
With everything happening with DACA, it is refreshing to see that the students at Redwood are taking a standpoint on what they think is right and wrong. DACA is affecting 800,000 children, students, workers, and the people right next to you. It’s an important time to start getting involved in politics as we will have to help make those decisions soon enough. This year, politically, is very vital for our future.
Written by: Kaleah Syvirathphan, Annabelle Williamson, and Leah Navarro