When dreaming becomes illegal

DACA residents are at risk of deportation

On Sept. 5, Attorney General of the United States Jeff Sessions announced the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program better known as DACA.

The program, established by the Obama administration, catered to young illegal residents who had been brought into the United States as minors.

While many citizens agree on increased border security or stricter vetting processes for immigrants entering the US legally, the discussion gets complicated when the topic of “Dreamers” comes up.

“Dreamers” are young people who’ve grown up in this country, adopted its culture and who consider themselves American but are here illegally.

These individuals got their name from the development, relief and education for alien minors piece of legislation better known as the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act was first taken to Congress in 2001 and eventually failed to pass in 2010, despite 70% of Americans supporting it.

A year after the DREAM Act died, President Obama announced DACA.

Elizabeth Stephens, a senior modern language major, said DACA residents shouldn’t be forced to go back to their countries if they were brought to the United States against their will.

“There has to be another way; why can’t they live here legally?” Stephens said.

There is a long list of requirements for DACA eligibility.

Immigrants had to enter the United States below the age of 16, be younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, maintain residence in the U.S. since the year 2007 and be currently enrolled in school, graduated, obtained a certificate of completion from high school or have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate.

DACA residents could also receive support if they are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

Recipients of DACA benefits must not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanors and cannot otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The majority of DACA eligible residents come from Mexico, Guatemala, Korea, El Salvador and the Philippines, according to migrationpolicy.org.

In the United States, the state of California has the highest number of DACA eligible residents at 561,000 or 29% of those eligible. Louisiana had less than one percent with only 8,000 people eligible.

“I think it’s unfair for them,” says junior kinesiology major Dashia Vance. “You’ve been here all your life and are American at heart, but now you gotta leave after we made you register with the government?”

Most ULM students have heard of DACA but don’t have an in-depth understanding of how it works. Few students said they wanted to see DACA residents deported.

Those who support DACA residents said those residents can stay, since they have clean records and are in school or have a job.

Amy Ha, a sophomore nursing major, was unaware of the DACA situation at first. After researching the facts, she said she would support DACA residents. Ha said all the DACA recipients should have a path to citizenship,

“All these people wanna do is stay home; America is home for them,” Ha said.

President Trump has stated his support to helping those affected by the repeal. Trump has given Congress six months to come up with an alternative, and as of Thursday morning, he said a bipartisan deal with Congress is “fairly close” to protect “Dreamers.”