DACA Student: It Could Be Anyone
Due to sensitivity of the issue, the DACA recipient interviewed, an Andrews University student, did not feel comfortable revealing their identity. However, due to current political climate they felt compelled to talk about their experience, and give us a glimpse into their life.
What is DACA?
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is an executive order that was made by President Obama. Essentially it was an immigration policy that allowed people who entered the country as minors, who were at the time undocumented, to be allowed to have a work permit and deferred action from being deported.
What kind of effect did DACA have on your family?
I grew up American, but did not have all the benefits. So when this was put into place I was able to get a job, go to college, get a driver's license, get an ID, travel domestically within the US, get a social security number and even go abroad for a little bit. I was able to finally be "normal." I didn't have to fear being deported anymore. You can just imagine the sensation of relief I felt when this happened. My parents and I could finally breath a little better.
Is there much emotional turmoil that are you experiencing with President Trump’s actions?
At first, I was enraged that someone with such hateful rhetoric could have ever been elected into office. He is a person that likes to instill fear into oppressed groups of people. After much realization and reflection I came to realize that Donald Trump’s way of thinking wasn't something new; his thought processes match those of many other Americans.
I am not angry at him or his supporters. I honestly just feel bad for them because they are so self-absorbed in their own personal ignorance that they will never be able to see outside of themselves, and that's a sad way to live.
Since President Trump has provisionally ended DACA, what do you think is next?
Well, it's kind of hard to say. I'm not entirely sure. We're just going to keep doing the exact same things we have been doing. I believe I was brought to this country at the age of two for a reason. I could sit back and fall into a "wait and see" motion, but I'm not going to. I am going to stay here, graduate and get a job. The final decision for DACA will be made in the next six months before it's officially terminated. I am not really worried about my future. I think everything is going to be just fine in the end.
Do you think there is a distinction between American citizen students and DACA students?
DACA students are exactly the same as students with citizenship. I have had the opportunity to meet other Andrews DACA students and you wouldn't have known they were any different from you. We are the people you sit next to in class, the people you sing with in choir. During these difficult times of uncertainty it is crucial that people stand in solidarity with us.
We were brought to this country at a young age, and for many of us this is all we know. I wasn't brought into this country illegally; my family just overstayed their visas because they saw the opportunities America could give their children. Being able to receive something like DACA allowed us to be able to escape the shadows that were haunting us so badly. I wish everyone could understand that we are fighting for rights that so many people take for granted. You may not know who we are, but if you need a visual representation, take a look in the mirror because we are just like you.