#2 DACA Recipients are Facing a Terrifying Threat

Before I even knew if I was going to be accepted into Middlebury’s program, I knew that Trump’s repeal of DACA was something that was important to me and something I wanted to learn more about.  Within just two short interviews my perspective changed and the questions I was asking changed as well.

The first person I interviewed was my friend, Eli. As someone with immigrant family members, his opinion strongly supported the importance of DACA. In an interview, he said, “I believe that is completely wrong to repeal that [DACA] policy. It gave minors a chance to have a good life this country. What happened to the American dream? What happened to the pursuit of happiness? What happened to a country of immigrants? How is sending thousands of young, hard-working dreamers to a country they’ve never been to going to help this country? It’s not.” As he said this, I realized that for so many people this isn’t just a news story, this is a terrifying reality. And it’s not affecting just immigrants – it’s affecting everybody.

The second person I interviewed was my mom. I first asked her what her opinion of DACA was. She said she believes that it was a policy that helped immigrant youth, but also made communities stronger economically and socially. Immigrant youth staying in the United States legally under DACA have helped make significant contributions to the U.S economy as they created more jobs as they bought houses and cars, started their own businesses, and even agreed to pay taxes to have opportunities many Americans take for granted. DACA also allows the exchange of different ideas from a diverse array of cultures. When I asked her what she thought of President Trump repealing this policy, her answer surprised me. “Even though I support DACA and I believe that it makes this country stronger as a whole, I can understand what Trump was thinking with his decision. In interviews with the press on this, Trump says he wants immigrants to come to America legally, and DACA is letting illegal immigrants into this country. While deporting young DACA recipients to a country they’ve never been to is cruel, I can understand Trump is against DACA’s failure to enforce immigration laws.”

While I still am a firm believer in DACA, this made me realize why Trump could have come to his decision. I asked her if she could think of any possible solutions for DACA she said that the government could budget better. When I asked her to explain she said, “I’m paying taxes for practically everything if the government could budget better maybe they’d be more money for policies like DACA and more money to enforce illegal immigration. So that way there’d better programs for children of illegal immigrants, but there would be less illegal immigrants. It’s a cycle. And instead of spending billions to deport these DACA recipients, the money could be spent stopping illegal immigration.” So while there’s a need for change, Trump’s idea of “simply” deporting thousands of young dreamers is not the change this country needs. What we need is a long-term and fair solution. When this solution will come is uncertain, but what is certain is that this change needs to happen – and soon.

lmartell

3 Responses to “#2 DACA Recipients are Facing a Terrifying Threat

  • Sarah Soule
    5 years ago

    I love the two perspectives you share here from your two interviews! DACA speaks to me in a very personal way as I have worked closely with the refugee population in Burlington, many of whom have children attending the King Street Center, a place where I volunteer. These families have all come here legally seeking a better life and hope to build on the American dream of education and a bright future for their children.

    I appreciate the comments of both the people you interviewed as their views are similar to my own.

  • Emily Hoyler
    5 years ago

    As a teacher in Rhode Island, I knew many children whose parents had brought them here as babies. Some had siblings born here, and some were American citizens with siblings born elsewhere. I can’t imagine these families being torn apart. Having a personal connection with folks affected by this debate increases the complexity of taking a side on the issue.

    The more perspectives we hear, the more complex the issue can become. I wonder if the US might think of being a better neighbor to humans born at other geographic coordinates- perhaps if we worked more to address global inequities we could address some of the causes of this flow.

    In the meantime, we need to reform immigration policy. Canada prides itself on being a “cultural mosaic” – where immigrants come- are welcomed- and enrich their communities- bringing new colors, flavors, and sounds. The United States, however, prefers the “melting pot” metaphor- where cultural assimilation is required to “fit in”. Legally immigrating to the US is hard, there are limited numbers of visas available- at great cost. This is out of reach for so many.

    As a mother, I would do anything to give my children a good life.

    It’s so complicated.

  • Nanja Horning
    5 years ago

    I really appreciate your reaction to the response from your mom. You paid attention to what she was saying without drowning out the opinions that you didn’t agree with. Something that I value a great deal is someones ability to listen and understand opinions that they don’t agree with at all, since it can be can be so difficult to just tell others about it at all.

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