DACA?

What is currently going on, and what do our local students think about it?

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Alondra Navarro Leano, Staffer

There has been no shortage of news regarding the DACA act this past year, especially with the election of 46th president Joe Biden on November 3, 2020, and his inauguration on January 20, 2021.

The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy is a federal program for
immigrant students brought to the U.S. as children. Students enrolled in this
program are protected from deportation; some are granted eligibility to apply for a driver’s
license, work permit, and a social security number. DACA, however, does not apply for automatic citizenship in the U.S., and students also have to renew their DACA status every 2 years.
Students studying under this program are called Dreamers. The DACA act was first brought to Congress by President Barack Obama after the failure of The Dream Act in 2012, and as of June 15, 2012, immigrant students have been able to receive education in the U.S.
Since the election of ex-president Donald Trump, there has been much debate regarding
the status of the DACA act. The Trump Administration even brought to court an action to terminate DACA. On June 18, 2020, the Supreme court overruled the Trump Administration’s Termination of DACA. During this time, Dreamers had also started numerous protests in large cities, such as Washington D.C, New York City, and Los Angeles.
Currently, after the election of the 46th president, Joe Biden, things have been looking up for Dreamers this year.

As of March 14, 2021, congress passed an immigration bill with a path towards citizenship for dreamers. “I have been keeping up with that, and I was really excited when I saw that on my news page.” says an anonymous interviewee.
Now that new actions are being put in place to lead Dreamers toward citizenship, it seems
like DACA has reached a point of high hopes for all Dreamers. Many of the anonymous
interviewees reported their support to this new age of Dreamers, who will hopefully have
further opportunities in the U.S. One interviewee said, “I believe that just by doing our best to help our small community here in Mariner, we could cause a change and continue to work on increasing opportunities for young immigrant students in the U.S.” It’s clear that it is crucial to help others in the community, whether you are part of the community or just an ally, but regardless that you demonstrate the need for inclusivity and a safe place for everyone.
In Mariner, some interviewees have reported their own experiences in school; one said, “I
think that for the most part, I have felt good about coming to school and being part of the community that supports and helps other Dreamers, but there might have been times where I felt out of place, where I felt alienated in a way. But I think that as a community, we have provided a good sense of inclusivity for others.” Another interviewee reported that they had never been that greatly impacted but grateful for others in the community and clubs. The need for a stronger sense of community has never been as significant, many new students that are starting high school this year have all felt mixed emotions, and now more than ever, it is essential to lead a better group of young Dreamers and make them feel like school is a safe place for them to express themselves.
In this group of interviewees, some expressed their hopes for change coming following
some of the news that has been going around. One said, “ I hope that with the election of Joe
Biden good things follow regarding the DACA program, and really wish that more positive
things could come in the next few years.” For now, many Dreamers are reaching out for the
possibility of a better future for them and to those that are incoming; now, it is important to
maintain a strong community and support one another through times of uncertainty.