Editorial: Students against the repeal of DACA

It is important to remind ourselves that behind every government policy decision is a human being who is going to be directly affected by it.

In the case of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, it will be close to 800,000.

The history of DACA is not a short one; the policy is a little over five years old, but congress has been debating it for over a decade and a half. This influenced why it was actioned without legislative approval; the program itself is sustained by its own application fees.

The applicants are noncitizen residents who entered the country as minors without a lawful immigration status and have lived in the United States for an extended period of time. They completed high school or received a GED, are honorably discharged from the military or are enrolled in school.

These people are not criminals or illegals; technically, they are not even undocumented because of DACA. In fact, there are strict requirements involving background checks and in regards to felony, serious misdemeanors or other misdemeanors.

DACA represents the best for people who are currently living in the United States. These are educated, law-abiding members of society whose goal is that congress will finally agree on a pathway to citizenship.

Larissa Martinez, the Yale-bound student who outed herself as an undocumented immigrant in her valedictorian’s speech, would have qualified for DACA. She should not have had to wait for over seven years while her application to become a citizen was being processed.

This is what the US government needs to fix: an inefficient, broken immigration system that fails to provide applicants with a realistic path to citizenship.

A major goal of DACA was to force congress to address immigration reform and make the US system work.

The delay President Trump has proposed of 6 months for legislative action is historically unrealistic. As of the date of this publication, Congress has failed to adequately address the DREAM act for 196 months.

No individual living in the United States should ever have to fear enrolling in a government program because they do not know what the next administration is going to do with that information. This is something that no one on any side of the political spectrum can disagree with.

Choosing not to support DACA is choosing to take the pressure off our government to act on immigration and a large step back from needed reform.

The decision the executive branch has made to pass responsibility for these valuable, contributing members of society’s lives to a historically ineffective Congress with an unrealistically short deadline is not a solid policy decision.  

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