As we enter the fall semester this year, many feel a sense of anxiety over classes and homework as well as the current political climate of the country. Most recently, there has been an announcement from the White House that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) will be phased out over a period of six months. For many young people, this means they will be forcibly expelled from the life that they have made in the United States and implanted in countries that they have no semblance of familiarity with. As of right now, the termination of the program will affect approximately 800,000 people, according to CNN.
Those 800,000 people are mainly students. In order to qualify for the program, they had to have been brought to the US before age 16, and could not have been older than 30 years when the policy was put in place in 2012. This has allowed DACA recipients to enroll in college, obtain driver’s licenses and gain secure employment. However, many recipients were still left in limbo as it gave them little to no way to apply for citizenship if they chose to do so. Recipients were able to apply for deferring ― or delaying ― deportation for two years. In the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement, the Department of Homeland Security stated that they will still be accepting applications for the next month; this deadline ends Oct. 5, for anyone with a permit that is set to expire March 5, 2018 according to NBC.
Perhaps the most infuriating aspect of this entire bureaucratic debacle is that sitting Pres. Trump had promised that DACA recipients would have nothing to worry about. In February he had said that, “We’re gonna deal with DACA with heart.” Yet at the same time, ahead of the declaration he said that it was his duty to serve who had elected him ― specifically, “the citizens (he was) elected to serve.” This choice of words not only speaks to the kind of base he so frequently lauds in his speeches, but what he truly feels his duty as the president is: forsaking the oppressed and focusing solely on bolstering his power. While he wanted to appear apologetic, it appeared more like the scene in “Get Out” when Rose holds up Chris’s car keys, dangling them in his face, blocking the only perceived form of escape to safety.
Without DACA, undocumented Americans are being thrown to the wolves and forced to fend for themselves. Their right to work and their right to an education is being systematically taken from them. Although there are bills being introduced in state and national government, we must still continue to fight to protect their rights. No human is illegal and no one should have their civil rights taken from them simply because of their legal status. It is our duty to protect our family, friends and neighbors when our government routinely fails us.