DACA rescind wrong decision, program needs reform

Meredith Comas, Opinions Editor

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For almost every undocumented immigrant in the United States, the worst of the worst news came on Tuesday. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has ended under the political power of the Trump Administration, giving Congress six months to act before sending current DACA protectees back, sparking protests across the country.

DACA was first implemented in 2012 under President Obama. The program allows for almost 800,000 immigrant children who never achieved American citizenship to apply for two years of deferred action before revisiting deportation, apply for a work visa and ID, and attend American schools — opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have in their birth countries — so long as they were under 16 before arrival and were in school and under the age of 30 when they applied for deferred action. Those currently protected under DACA will be forced to leave their families, homes, jobs, schools, the only country they’ve ever known, for the country they were born in — the country that, to most, was only a story to them, not a memory.

While DACA allows for many advantages, it comes with its hardships too. To achieve DACA protection, one has to go through an immigration lawyer, which can be expensive, and DACA does not secure immigrants a green card, or exactly open doorways to achieving American legality. Many in DACA eventually could be forced to leave unless they had American family or had already gone through the long process of obtaining a green card.

It is the agreement of The Mentor editorial board that, while DACA has its perks and its flaws, the solution is not to throw it out in its entirety, but rather to reform and improve on the program already in place.

Throwing out DACA will simply provide more immigration chaos, not clear up the obvious problem America has regarding immigration. Instead of rescinding the act that gave so many the only life-line they had to the country they were raised in, America should be reforming programs to help illegal immigrants gain legal status, and ensure they take the necessary steps to proper citizenship.  

In Kansas alone, there are 11,307 DACA-approved immigrants and 12,630 immigrants accepted into DACA but not yet approved. Here in Manhattan, the effects of the DACA rescind can already be seen. There have been protests, like those on college campuses across the country, defending immigrant students attending K-State under the protection of DACA. There are families throughout America, including right here in Kansas, that have American-born children that will be forced to stay in America if their parents are deported as many cannot afford to get their children dual citizenship.

Instead of ripping apart families, and having an immigration system that not only takes a painstakingly long time, but involves finances which many immigrant families can’t afford, let’s make DACA a program that allows immigrants to take the necessary steps toward legality. Don’t shut out children, students, those contributing to a society they had no choice as to whether or not they came into. America is the melting pot, don’t freeze good people who were raised with American culture, American values, out now. Reform DACA, don’t throw it out.

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DACA rescind wrong decision, program needs reform