Updated: Aug 5, 2020
On November 12, 2019, in less than 17-degree weather, over 50 students, teachers, faculty, alumni, and residents showed up in support of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), Dreamers, and all undocumented students on this campus and more rallied in support all across the nation. On the same day, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments about the status of DACA, a program initially introduced in 2012 by the Obama Administration.
For years, all undocumented immigrants have become a large target of hate in Trump’s campaign that eventually put him in office, and is current justification for the policies he is trying, and has, implemented. In the US, there are over 11 million unauthorized immigrants that have come here for a number of different reasons risking so much to come to this country illegally. One of those reasons is simply to seek resources and provide a better environment and future for their children. The majority of the students referenced in this article are students who, without a choice, were brought and raised in this country, and just like many of their classmates, decided to pursue a higher education.
Policy-wise, there has been a major push to give these undocumented youth a chance to gain some form of documentation. In 2001, the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act, was proposed to Congress, providing an ideal pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth, but even to this day, the act was never passed. Then in 2012, under the Obama administration, an executive order called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was issued as a way for legal protection. Unlike the DREAM Act, DACA was not a pathway towards citizenship, instead, it offered “protection from deportation, employee authorization, and access to a social security number and state identification or driver’s license to youth”*. However, once again, this never made it through the Supreme Court, making DACA vulnerable to the current administration.
This vulnerability was exactly the case in 2017 when the current administration made the decision to rescind DACA, no longer allowing for new applications or renewals to be processed or accepted. “President Trump ended the program in 2017 after nine conservative state attorney generals with hard-line views on immigration threatened to sue him over the policy, arguing that it represented an overreach of presidential power.”** The end of the program meant that the students and youth it once protected were now at risk.
Now, this program lies in the Supreme Court, whose decision will drastically affect not only the DACA recipients but immigration policies to come. Education has been said to be highly important, and all these students seek is to follow that idea and gain opportunities that their relatives could not. As we stood there outside in freezing weather and heard the speeches of all those involved, it was evident to all that we must stick together as a comunidad and re-establish the humanity of over 11 million undocumented immigrants. We must establish support to continue making this campus a safe environment for undocumented students because HOME IS HERE, HERE TO STAY.
*Building Undocumented Student Support in Higher Education Through a Culturally-Responsive Lens. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Building-Undocumented-Student-Support-in-Higher-Education-Through-a-Culturally-Responsive-Lens.aspx.
**Dickerson, C. (2019, November 12). What Is DACA? And How Did It End Up in the Supreme Court? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/us/daca-supreme-court.html?auth=linked-google.