Wednesday, April 17, 2024

As DACA Reaches 5th Anniversary, ‘DREAMers’ Fear Trump Politics

In the five years that DACA has enabled hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to work and study in the U.S., the federal government made no headway in creating a legal pathway toward citizenship for these and many other immigrants. DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a two-year renewable program that allows immigrants who arrived prior to the age of 16 work and study without the fear of deportation.

“I don’t think I ever felt 100 percent secure with DACA,” said Renata Borges Teodoro, a DREAMer. “DACA has definitely changed my life a lot of different ways for the better, but DACA is only a temporary fix and it’s scary because we’ve known it’s something that can be taken away.”

Although President Trump vowed to end the Obama administration DACA program during the campaign trail, the program continues to enroll and renew recipients. “DACAmented” individuals are feeling the insecurity now more than ever, with an administration set on cracking down on immigration.

“I wanted to finally feel safe,” Jaime Rangel, 26, a student from Dalton State College said. “I wanted to finally feel comfortable in the country, the only country I’ve known most of my life. I wanted to finally get a work visa to pay my bills, pay tuition, out of state tuition, and go to school … It’s hard to imagine how I got through life without it.”

While new applications for DACA dropped during Trump’s first three months in office, renewals are up since the last quarter. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has pressed for Congress to pass legislation to grant permanent legal status to DACA recipients, however, there have been DACA recipient arrests and detentions, as well as one deportation.

NBC News