By Lisbeth Valentin ’18
The morning of Sept. 5 marked the ending of DACA, as many people knew it, which left 800,000 Dreamers with fear of the future. Dreamers are children of immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
What does DACA stand for and who does it affect?
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA was passed by former president Obama as an executive order in 2012. An executive order, according to the Washington Post, is an official statement that comes from the president to a branch of government and is enforced like a law by Congress.
DACA affects over 800,000 immigrants under the program.
What were the requirements for DACA recipients?
For DACA to benefit people, they had to follow requirements of the program when it came to applying. Furthermore, you need to be able to present proof of the documents listed. Some of the requirements are listed below:
- Recipients must be under the age of 31 before June 14, 2012
- Arrived at the United States before turning 16 years old
- No criminal record
- Had to be in school, obtain a GED, The General Education Development, or honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces
- Had to be physically present in the United States as of June 15, 2012
What does the DACA program provide for people under the program?
Dreamers under the DACA program are able to enroll in college, have a valid driver license, and have a work permit within the United States. Additionally, DACA helps avoid deportation for people under the program.
People should know that DACA does not provide any legal status to undocumented people, dreamers, who are benefited by the program.
What should be expected with the ending of DACA?
PresidentTrump announced that there would be no immediate action against those with DACA for a period of six months. In addition, the Trump administration provided a six month time slot for Congress to be able to come up with a plan to save the DACA program.
During this six-month time period, Congress has to come up with a plan.
There are things that would not be removed for Dreamers, according to cnn.com:
- The work permits that have yet not expired will still be honored under the program.
- Applications for DACA that were submitted and received before Sept. 5, 2017 will be processed.
- People whose DACA will be expired on March 5, 2018 will have one month to apply for a two-year work permit.
How does DACA affect the Pritzker community?
When the decision of removing DACA was made, most Pritzker students were in class. There were multiple reactions towards the situation not only from current students, but also from alumni. Maria Santillan, 2017 alumni; DePauw University student; PAS recipient; and DACA recipient, stated, “When I first heard about the decision to end DACA, I was at a resource center meeting at my college. All students were sent an email about such meeting to learn about DACA and its future. Out of the 2,500 students present, only 5 students showed up myself included. While [being] there, I realized that I was not the only DACA student. Two other girls came out and expressed their concerns. I felt the responsibility to do the same, and so I also shared my immigration status. We were advised to wait for the final response. To keep hope alive. To keep each other sane. To keep each other company. There are only 3 DACA students on my campus including myself.”
Stop, what is a PAS recipient?
A PAS recipient is a Pritzker Access Scholarship that is a granted to DACA Noble students by the Pritzker and Traubert family.
Santillan is just one of the 800,000 who are affected by Mr. Trump’s decision. Moreover, she is not the only person that has been told to wait, but waiting to see what the future holds can be scary.
Santillan expressed feeling shocked about the situation but has decided to stay optimistic about the situation, as she mentioned that even though her campus is not a sanctuary campus, she still feels the support around her. To add on, she feels a bit empowered by the decision that was made because she feels like Dreamers can do something about the situation.
DACA recipients are not the only ones worried about the situation but also the parents. Santillan’s parents, according to her, feel uneasy about the situation, but are trying to feel better by considering the fact that she can continue her studies with her current financial status. Vianney Yanez, a current senior and DACA recipient, stated that she thought that Trump will not have ended DACA. Additionally, she stated, “I was really disappointed. I actually found out in school and I cried so much.” Yanez also explained how her family had a similar reaction towards the situation. Yanez and Diana Tello, a current senior, had similar hopes for the future regarding DACA. They both hope that Congress is able to create a change and save DACA, since they both have worked hard in order to get into college.
A message from DACA recipients:
Yanez wants people to keep in mind that playing around about being deported is not funny and should not be mentioned. She states, “It is a really scary thought that you and your family could get deported and start again in a new country in which you did not grow up, lose your friends and have your life plans destroyed.” Even if people think that Dreamers are exaggerating, there are things that should not be joked around, since it can damage another person. Santillan commented that students who are Dreamers and are part of Pritzker should not feel alone. Furthermore, she suggested not to lose hope and to continue to persevere.