DACA, Dreamers, and opened doors (keeping them open, too)

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DACA supporters at a rally in San Francisco in 2017.

Cindy Rocha, Writer

According to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that it will not deport undocumented youth who were brought to the United States as children. They will be allowed to stay in the U.S. with a temporary permission called “deferred action.” The Obama administration called this program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA.  

Immigrants who apply for this program are considered “Dreamers,” and many get the chance to finish their education, travel abroad, and hold better-paying jobs. To sign up for this program, applicants are required to pay $500 for an application fee. Every two years, those who wish to renew their DACA have to pay this same fee.  

Former Marian University alumni Jose Luis Alvarado was a DACA recipient. Alvarado shared his thoughts and opinions about DACA, explaining how the process to become a dreamer and its requirements are very specific and can take a while. He said, “At first it was very simple and accessible for undocumented people, but due to the changes and legislation in the government it has become more strict and less affordable.”

DACA has benefited students striving for their education. Being one of them, Alvarado explained, “Being a DACA gave me the opportunity to walk freely and not be afraid of being deported. It also gave me the chance to pursue my education and find a career.”

Even so, while DACA gives individuals many opportunities, it still does not allow them to participate in many things. He said, “Yes, even though it opened doors for my education, those doors were limited. One challenge that I had was not being able to sign up for FAFSA and receive loans.” And even if the face of these difficulties, Alvarado remained optimistic and said, “Even though I still had those obstacles in front of me, I still took them down.”

Now, though, DACA faces the risk of being shut down due to the Trump administration’s desire to end the program. Many undocumented immigrants’ lives are at risk because of what is in jeopardy if this program ends. According to ABC News, there have been protests against the decision of President Trump wanting to end this program.

As of today, the DACA program still remains. There are currently 6,970 active DACA recipients. These recipients, many of them students, can lose their jobs, education, careers, and everything else they are pursuing. So, especially in lieu of the presidential election, if you care about DACA, it should also be emphasized to know those candidates that are DACA supporters, as it could drastically impact the fate of this program.