Standing with dreamers

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Ending DACA doesn’t fix a thing

Dreamers is the term used to describe people who moved to this country at a young age and have assimilated to U.S. culture. Dreamers are named after the legislative proposal called Development Relief, Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act that would grant dreamers a pathway towards residency.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in 2012, which permits undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors to have a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. As imperfect as DACA is, it provides temporary relief for undocumented immigrants to live their lives without the constant fear of deportation and leaving their families behind.

Some DACA recipients don’t realize that they are undocumented until they apply for their first jobs, apply for financial aid or college, or when they discover that they have to pay out-of-state tuition in the state they’ve lived in for most of their lives. Others have grown up in a world where a knock at the door triggers the realistic fear of a U.S. immigration and customs enforcement officer coming to tear their family apart. Some have been taught to keep their undocumented status a secret from everyone, in fear of deportation. The U.S. has no effective pathway to citizenship for immigrants and they should not be denied the right to survive and live better lives.

Immigrants that benefit from DACA don’t always have memories of growing up in the country they were born in. They have embraced living in the U.S. because it’s the only place they can call home. Unfortunately, the U.S. is a country that has never fully embraced them. DACA provides breathing room and sense of security.

Some of the requirements to apply for DACA include: being under the age of 31, moved to the U.S. before the age of 16, and have not been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor. According to Multicultural Student Services, there are over 200 undocumented students at UVU.

The economic effects of ending DACA would be devastating as it could cost Utah’s gross domestic product to lose $476,470,215 a year. According to the Department of Homeland Security, people under the age of 25 account for 22 percent of undocumented immigrants. Ending the program, which began under the Obama Administration, would be cruel to immigrants that came to the U.S. as children. According to “The Economic Impacts of Removing Unauthorized Immigrant Workers”, a 2016 report from the Center for American Progress, there are approximately 9,711 people that benefit from DACA in Utah. Out of those recipients, 8,449 have jobs.

Removing dreamers from this country is inhumane. Without DACA, their future is up in the air and they aren’t able to make any long term plans, such as earning a college degree, buying a home, or starting a family. Historically, the U.S. has limited civil rights to marginalized communities. Martin Luther King Jr, said that an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. Call your legislators to preserve DACA and stand with dreamers.