The day after the Trump administration announced the end to the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a feeling of fear and anger overcame many people across the country. Rallies commenced and students walked out of classes in Denver to protest.
DACA is a program that protects more than 800,000 undocumented immigrants, called “dreamers," who were brought to the United States as children to live and work legally. DACA allows these children to obtain work permits, driver’s licenses, and other legal documents. Criminals are not eligible for DACA.
President Trump keeps changing his stance on DACA, saying one minute that “they have to go" and the next minute that “we are going to deal with DACA with heart" (New York Post).
I am able to see firsthand how this affects students in my college town of Harrisonburg. Harrisonburg is located in the rural central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and it has not hosted an immigrant population for generations; however, in recent years, it has become multicultural. The area has a very diverse public school, with students from 64 countries who speak 44 languages, primarily from Latin American countries.
Diego Salinas is a student at James Madison University who immigrated with his family to Virginia from El Salvador when he was young. Salinas started a petition to protect undocumented immigrants who attend JMU and he received over 1,000 signatures.
Salinas is known as a kind, caring, and passionate student on campus and he plans to pursue a career in theater after college. Without DACA, however, this will be very challenging.
DACA recipients are culturally American, and they have worked hard to contribute to the economy and create a better life for themselves. Now that DACA is fading away, Congress needs to Step Up and take action. The majority of Americans are pushing to keep this program in place, and we all are hoping to find a solution.