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DACA also known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was a program put into place by the Obama Administration in 2012, to grant children brought here illegally a chance to avoid deportation along with the chance to join the workforce and go to school. Now in 2017, President Trump is trying to repeal the act that affects an estimated 800,000 young adults.
Though no one is quite sure what will happen, if DACA is completely repealed, meaning if the work permits will cease or just be phased out, or if DACA participants will be deported immediately. What is known though is that lawmakers are crossing party lines in order to make this as mutually beneficial as possible. As of Sept. 29, the Republicans have come forward with a proposal that they believe can be the fix for DACA.
The SUCCEED act is the conservative form of DACA, meaning that it adheres to most DACA rules, but does have a longer more complicated road towards citizenship. While unveiling the bill he co-authored Senator James Lankford stated, “We took into consideration a basic fact: In American law, we don’t hold children accountable for the actions of their parents. They’re caught in between at this point.” Meaning Congress does not want to punish Dreamers, the participants in DACA, for something their parents chose to do.
Though with much uncertainty all Dreamers are being pushed to renew DACA by the Oct. 5 deadline, in order to hopefully secure another two years of deportation deferment and a work permit. Many institutions across the country, including College of the Desert, are keen on wanting to help those affected by the repealment.
COD student Elias Hernandez, is a DACA recipient as he came to the United States at only five years old and described how he felt when he heard of the repealment as, “the world falling.” When asked if he was still worried he said, “I am confident, no longer fearing, that something will come about to replace DACA, they cannot just give us this opportunity and then take it away.” Hernandez also stressed the importance of the COD club, Alas Con Futuro and how it helps and offers great support to those affected.
Dr. Joel Kinnamon, President of the Desert Community College District, has put forth a press release saying, “These are our neighbors. These are our family and friends. These are outstanding people we interact with every day. These are our students. All of you deserve nothing less than our respect and support.” He also goes on to talk about how clubs like Alas Con Futuro can help with guidance and peer support as well as the counseling office offering the same type of assistance. With dreamers being a part of the COD Roadrunner community, all hands are on deck to help support and encourage them along the way.
To help with DACA renewal scholarships have been put into place by the nonprofit Mission Assets Fund for $495, enough to cover the renewal application. Along with this many lawyers are doing renewal applications pro-bono, for free, in workshops held on campus. All this help is going towards ensuring that our community is not left ravaged by something out of everyone’s control, as Eloy Ortiz Oakley, California Community Colleges Chancellor, said, “Although we are discouraged by (the DACA) news, we remain committed to serving and supporting all students, regardless of immigration status, and seeing that they reach their full potential. We will stand with our students, and we will not give into fear.”