Trump administration expected to repeal DACA

Amnesty, equity of 800,000 undocumented youth at risk


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Fremont resident Mayra Alcaraz (left) wipes tears from her eyes while surrounded by friends and community members during a vigil at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, California on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, hours after news leaked that President Trump will repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival order. DACA recipients were asked to form a circle while the rest of the group surrounded them to sing “We Shall Overcome.”

By Roxana Amparo, Associate Editor

After months of threats from the Trump administration, the program that gives hope and security to more than 800,000 undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. is at risk of ending as early as today. However, Trump administration officials continue to deny the claims.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program created by former President Barrack Obama’s administration on June 15, 2012, giving eligible undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were under the age of 16 a two-year work permit and exemption from deportation.

Ten state attorney generals who are opposed to DACA including those from the states of Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Idaho, have threatened to sue the Trump administration if DACA is allowed to continue.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a letter to Trump administration officials, “We respectfully request that the Secretary of Homeland Security phase out the DACA program.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders continued to deny claims that the program was in imminent jeopardy on Thursday despite claims that the administration has previously made about immigration policy.

The request specified that no renewals or work permits should be issued in the future. However, those DACA recipients who are here with work permits will be able to remain in the country until those permits expire.

In the letter, Paxton gave the Trump administration until Sept. 5 to rescind the program.

For thousands of qualifying undocumented people, DACA has offered temporary relief and a sense of security.

Contra Costa College counselor Norma Valdez-Jimenez said, “People have to know this is a real issue and that they are sitting next to someone in class who is being affected by this. People have to know, it is not just your Latino friends who are affected by this, it is your Filipino friends and your Muslim friends also.”

President Obama’s executive order created a chance for Dreamers, a term for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age, to have a better future.

Valdez-Jimenez said, “I am angry. I am sad. I am pissed off. But at the same time I want us to remember that this has always been the objective that Donald Trump and his administration want to achieve — for us to feel defeated.

“And now we have to ask, how do we focus this anger and outrage to use it to effect positive change?”

Trump’s threats against the undocumented community, throughout his nine months in office, have created an aura of uncertainty and have instilled fear in many people.

“Isn’t that what all of his policies are about? He is a winner and we are the losers. He’s got to be the winner, him and his administration. Someone has to be losing if someone is winning,” Valdez-Jimenez said.

She said although it feels like this is a loss for the undocumented community, the sense of defeat can inspire growth when feeling supported by a group.

La Raza studies major Lizbeth Gonzalez said it is upsetting to see that DACA could potentially be ended because DACA gives undocumented students opportunities and hope for the future.

“Being an undocumented student is a combination of hard work and hope,” she said. “You have to work harder because you don’t have the same opportunities and you have to remain hopeful that the laws will change in favor of undocumented people.”

Gonzalez said although she is not a recipient of DACA, due to not meeting the requirements, she is afraid of what will happen if DACA comes to an end.

“I am afraid that if DACA ends, many people like me will be in a situation where it will be harder to attend college or get a job,” Gonzalez said.

La Raza studies major Luis Ledesma said undocumented families, like his own, are scared about the removal of DACA.

“My family, like many, are discussing plans about separation. It breaks my heart that there is a possibility that I will be forced to leave everything that I’ve built — more importantly — my family.”

Ledesma said he was brought to the U.S. as an 8-month-old and America is all he knows.

For many DACA recipients like Ledesma, America has been where their dreams were born, paths were determined and successes have already been gained.

“DACA has allowed us to gain income after being eligible to apply for more jobs. It has facilitated the process of applying to college and qualifying for scholarships,” he said.

Ledesma said DACA has been a temporary relief for undocumented immigrants so they do not have to constantly worry about deportation while under protection of the program.

Although emotions are raw, people are coming together to stand up for DACA and its beneficiaries.

Economics major Oscar Martinez said, during a Puente Club meeting in the Student and Administration Building on Thursday, “Con o sin daca somos chingones y aquí estamos” — which translates to “With or without DACA, we are still badasses and we are here.”

CCC Advocate (@AccentAdvocate) _ TwitterCCC Advocate (@AccentAdvocate) _ Twitter