Constance Pimentel - Teen Aspect - 9/9/2022
Within the last few presidential administrations, there have been several takes on immigration policies, particularly Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and whether or not they would be beneficial to the nation. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services defines DACA as a program that allows certain people who arrive in the United States as children and meet various criteria to “request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.”  DACA provides an opportunity for undocumented immigrants to apply for work authorization and create a new foundation for their lives in the U.S. Former President Barack Obama first introduced the program in 2012, causing some controversy within the Republican party. DACA remained secure for the rest of Obama’s presidency but faced several challenges during Former President Donald Trump’s administration with Trump rejecting applications from new Dreamers. The unstable nature of the program has provided nothing but a new worry to add to the list for many Dreamers and their families.
Recently, a lawsuit placed before a federal appeals board in New Orleans, Louisiana, argued that a president cannot legally arrogate congressionally authorized decisions on immigration policies without following the appropriate steps.  This lawsuit was the response of nine Republican-led states to President Joe Biden’s attempt to pass legislation that would allow Dreamers to immediately be eligible to apply for permanent residence and eventually citizenship. This legislation would be a much-needed step forward in the fight to facilitate legal immigration. With DACA and similar programs always facing legal challenges, it is nearly impossible for Dreamers to feel completely safe as their lives are at risk of being uprooted at any moment.
What many fail to consider is the bravery that it takes to come to the United States illegally. Leaving behind your family and friends to a new country that you know nothing about with only what you can carry with you is terrifying. Even the prospect of being completely silent while uncomfortably packed with hundreds of other people for fear of being discovered is unthinkable. This is a harsh reality for many Dreamers and their parents. To constantly dispute the validity of DACA and other immigration policies is to disregard the determination and struggle that it took to arrive in the United States this way. It is to undermine the values that this country is built on. The United States is a country by immigrants for immigrants. It is hypocritical to demonize immigrants while asking them to undergo a grueling process simply to legally arrive in a country that does not appreciate them. While I understand the need for legal immigration, I ask you to consider why illegal immigration to the United States is so common. The system is flawed. It takes months, if not years, to receive an appointment or consultation to be considered for a green card, and to get farther in the immigration process is even more inconceivable to prospective immigrants worldwide. Furthermore, time is a luxury that many immigrants cannot afford given the fact that not only are many immigrants fleeing violent situations, but they lack food, shelter, water, and other basic necessities, something that many legislators blocking opportunities for immigrants cannot even begin to fathom. They constantly complain about illegal immigration, but when it is time to facilitate legal immigration, they refuse.
The role of a legislator is to act in a manner that benefits its citizens. It is time that illegal immigrants also be considered not as a nuisance nor a burden, but as an opportunity to evolve as a nation and as a people. It is time to encourage policies such as DACA that would allow thousands of children nationwide to live the life afforded to citizens. This is a chance for the United States to live up to its reputation as the home of the brave for there is immense bravery required to risk your life to come here and that cannot continue to go unnoticed.
Consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). USCIS. (2022, April 12). Retrieved August 9, 2022, from https://www.uscis.gov/DACA
Laura Litvan and Erik Larson | Bloomberg. (2022, July 8). Analysis | 'dreamers,' Daca and Biden's first try on immigration: What to know. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 9, 2022, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/dreamers-daca-and-bidens-first-try-on-immigration-what-to-know/2022/07/08/82b9cf4e-fed1-11ec-b39d-71309168014b_story.html