Last year, during election season, many of President Donald Trump’s remarks towards immigrants in America were opinionated and not liked by many, including myself. As I read through news articles about Trump and his ideas, it made me nervous for the future. Not because I thought I would lose my place in society, but because I know so many other people in America who could lose everything and not be represented.
During former President Barack Obama’s terms in office, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) started as an immigration policy to protect those who entered the country illegally as a child. All applicants need to follow a process of applying to and getting accepted into the program.
For the past five years of the DACA program, many of the people in our community have been positively impacted by the policy.
Roberto Gomez*, a student at DGN recently became part of DACA. Gomez came to America when he was four years old with his mother and father and have been in this community ever since.
“America is my home. Whenever I am with my family and I meet someone new they always say that I’m American, not Mexican, even though I was born there. Chicago is the only city I have lived in and the only city I want to live in. I have grown up here and I have planned my future here in America.” Gomez said.
Trump has encouraged Congress to come up with ways to replace DACA before a six-month grace period passes. It’s shocking to think about how Trump wants to cut a life changing policy for immigrants.
For many of the people protected by DACA, they entered America as an infant or child and have faint memories of their country of origin. There is no way these people could possibly be deported to their home country, which would be a place they do not consider home.
“I am afraid of going back to Mexico because the rules are so different and the life I would live over there would be different. I wouldn’t have the same opportunities over in Mexico as I would in America. Here I could get a stable job and go to college, [but] over there all I would be is a farmer,” Gomez said.
Many DACA recipients had no control when entering the United States because they were young and came with their parents or guardians. These innocent people shouldn’t be forced out of the country they have grown up in, made memories in, and lived in for the majority of their lives.
As a welcoming country, we should unite together to support our DACA recipients and show them that we care. We have to come closer together during hard times for our fellow friends and peers.
*names have been changed to protect the identity of our sources.