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DREAMERS, DACA and choosing who we really are

Sofia Ruales, a DACA recipient of Plainfield, NJ, listens to AG Sessions' announcement. Photo by Kevin R. Wexler/NewJersey.com

Civic

DREAMERS, DACA and choosing who we really are

As I was reading an article a few weeks back, my eyes kept straying down to a comment someone had made. There were over a hundred comments easily, but I kept straying back to this woman’s, as if it was written in bold, and bells and whistles were alerting me to it. The article was about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and it was one of the first that I had read since President Trump reversed former President Obama’s protection for the children (known as DREAMERS) brought into the US illegally as minors.

It was a one sentence comment. It was really nothing to make it stand out, except the words themselves: “Can we adopt them?”

I liked that, and at the same time, I hated it.

Here was a woman who clearly disagreed with what #45 was doing. She was not saying nasty things or providing a litany of reasons to those who can’t look past the wrong-doing of these parents and see that their children had no choice in the matter. She came up with a possible solution that really doesn’t sound too crazy (to me, at least). I liked that.

However, behind that one sentence, her words also implied something else. The reversal of this protection is so cruel, that we need to look at every possible way of keeping these individuals in this country. It is their country. The realization of where we are in this debate is what I hate.

If you don’t know exactly what this protection is, here is a short explanation. In June 2012, the Obama Administration created DACA to protect individuals (DREAMERS), by allowing them to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit. These people were brought into this country illegally as minors. Approximately 800,000 people are enrolled in the DACA program.

On September 5, 2017, the current administration rescinded the DACA policy, with full elimination of the program delayed six months to give Congress an opportunity to find a solution for those individuals currently covered by the policy.

On Saturday, September 16, the Indy Star highlighted local DREAMER, Juan Mendoza. He was 11 months old when his parents brought him into this country illegally. He is now 27 years old and rising into a management position at his place of work. His younger siblings were born in the US, and therefore have citizenship. His parents both hold green cards. He hasn’t seen Mexico, his birthplace, since his parents brought him to the US. To Juan, America is his country, just as it is his siblings. He’s understandably afraid for himself and his family if he is deported.

After reading about Juan, I was reminded of the first article I had read and another person’s comment came back to me. It was in response to someone trying to explain why DREAMERS should be considered citizens. Her comment had a lot of back and forth replies, including this one guy who kept shouting in all capitals “THEY ARE ILLEGAL” to every person who showed support for DREAMERS.

I am disgusted and shocked by those who are incapable of showing even a little empathy for these people, our neighbors and friends, who had no role in the decision to come to America. Do they realize that deportation means removing DREAMERS from the only home they have ever known? Deportation would be like dropping them into what would seem like a foreign land, with no family or friends, and where they don’t even speak the language.

To place such fear into a person is simply cruel. I wonder what values our country stands on today. Elaborate law was not in place when our founding fathers arrived here. They were developed over years and decades, sometimes, and tweaked to reflect the ever-changing development of this country. Immigration laws were established in the same way: over time.

And one reason for the long, difficult road to becoming a citizen is to ensure the safety of those who already live here. And I am in full support of this. Yet, statistics show that the safety of the US is not threatened by DREAMERS. Actually, research shows quite the opposite. There are no known major adverse impacts from DACA on native-born workers’ employment while most economists say that DACA benefits the US economy.  There is also no evidence that DACA-eligible individuals are more likely to commit crimes than any other person.

The possible deportation of DREAMERS makes me think that maybe it’s time to implement some new laws to improve the overall well-being of our country. For instance, maybe we should have some sort of standard for citizenship. Maybe that standard should consider intelligence, ability to empathize, level of sympathy, positive contribution to society, criminal record, level of acceptance for all…just to name a few. We all have our individual priorities.

I know, this is a dream in and of itself. It is a dream probably because too many people would fall short of any set standard. Many Americans already here might fall short themselves.

I will fully stand behind the effort though, just as I stand behind all DREAMERS.

I am a dreamer.  I truly hope you’re a DREAMER, too.

~Namaste

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Sandhya is a wife and mother of twin boys (4) and little girl (3), first. She also goes by author, writer, caregiver, and the family-glue for her village. She's a dreamer, a soul-catcher, lover of words, an empath and wanderer searching for lost souls, all while craving culture and diversity to bring everyone together. She is author of the book, When It's Not As Simple As The Birds And The Bees: Finding Hope While Dealing With Infertility.  She enjoys writing poetry and has been published numerous times, as well as being a two time award winning poet.  She's dabbled as a songwriter, but leaves that to the pros. Stay tuned, you will see all of it here.

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