Protect and Preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
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As a result of the recent election, the time to preserve vital progress in our nation has come. President-elect Donald Trump’s anticipated immigration plans pose a significant threat to undocumented immigrants nationwide. Undocumented high school graduates wishing to go on to college to further their education, wanting nothing more than to contribute to their communities and to the United States, face a harsh reality after graduating high school. DACA presented hope for a future for many undocumented students across the country. Young children and young adults with aspirations of becoming future doctors, teachers, lawyers, and countless other career paths were given an opportunity to pursue their dreams when Obama announced the DACA program. Donald Trump plans to terminate this, effectively ending all young undocumented students' hopes of obtaining driver’s licenses, work permits, and a college education and putting them at an increased risk for deportation.
What is DACA?
“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a kind of administrative relief from deportation. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. DACA gives young undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. The program expires after two years, subject to renewal.
PLEASE NOTE: DACA does not grant a path to permanent residency or citizenship. The DREAM Act, which would lead to permanent residency, has NOT passed.”
“On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.”
DACA Eligibility Requirements
You may request DACA if you:
1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
DACA is not amnesty, nor a direct path to citizenship. DACA allows eligible immigrants to obtain a driver’s license, obtain a work permit, and stay in the country to work toward a path to citizenship without great risk of deportation. Thanks to DACA, these immigrants can share their experiences and talent while developing their skills and education as they work to establish themselves as U.S. Citizens.
Pew Research Center estimates there are 11.1 undocumented immigrants in the country while the Department of Homeland Security estimates there are 11.4 undocumented immigrants in the United States as January of 2012—the number only continues to increase. These immigrants are our friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and students.
President Obama’s announcement of DACA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RXSlMu5EDI
Obstacles Faced by Immigrants
· “Most immigration lawyers charge between $5,000 to $7,500 to accompany a client through the green card process.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87996&page=1
· “Some cases can cost closer to $15,000 before adding on application fees and any potential family members.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87996&page=1
· “Applicants can spend years marked by a feeling of lost opportunity and helplessness as they wait for the process to conclude.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87996&page=1
· Many colleges do not accept DACA students
· Out of state tuition for many DACA college students if they can find a college that accepts them
· FAFSA cannot be utilized by undocumented students and many scholarships cannot be awarded to undocumented students, putting them at a major disadvantage when it comes to the college application process.
· Constant association and comparison to terrorists and criminals—including racial profiling. While terrorists and immigrants with malicious intent do get into the country, this is a very small proportion and must not be overgeneralized to the population as a whole. Immigrants, legal or undocumented, tragically face a growing hatred that has been inspired by negative framing of immigrants, use of misleading information, and the strategy of using them as scapegoats.
· Immigration raids in their communities
· Being forcibly taken or separated from their families. Children are often separated from their parents because of the deportation process.
• According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are an estimated 1,932,000 DACA eligible immigrants in the U.S. If Donald Trump carries through with his plans to end DACA, these almost 2 million immigrants will be unable to obtain driver’s licenses and work permits, will not be able to work toward their educational dreams, and will be at great risk for deportation
• We will be ending the work, progress, and achievements of young immigrants. All of their hard-work and progress will essentially be destroyed
• According to the American Psychological Association, there are one million children under the age of 18 who are undocumented and 4.4 million under the age of 30. Those who currently are in the DACA program or are eligible for DACA, will be at major risk for deportation if DACA is ended.
• We will be ending the educational paths of future doctors, businessmen and women, skilled trade workers, teachers, and more
• We will be tearing apart and ruining families who only wish to work toward becoming U.S. citizens
Please pledge your support to prevent the termination of this vital program and show Donald Trump we do not want to see these young, hardworking, patriotic immigrants separated from their families and forced out of our country. Let us show President-elect Donald Trump that these young students want nothing more to contribute to our country by protecting the program that allows them to work toward their ultimate goal of becoming U.S. citizens. Please remember that DACA is just one program that is in place to help immigrants assimilate into our nation. With Donald Trump’s election, this is only one facet of the immigration progress that is at risk. There is much more that needs to be done. This is just one step. Please share this with friends, family, and coworkers, and remember that we must all come together as Americans or watch our great nation continue to grow divided and crumble before our eyes.
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