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Trump's target on DACA affects students on campus

by Breonnah Colón - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Nov 28th 2017 10:00 pm
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The United States is a country where commodities such as electricity, clean running water and general access to education can sometimes blur the realities faced by most people in the world, a reality of young children and the elderly alike facing extreme obstacles of starvation, lack of proper medical attention or even adequate drinking water.

The truth of the matter is there are countless war torn countries, such as of Syria, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ukraine, where individuals face abuse and even persecution at the hands of military groups or their own government. 

The threat of death by crossfire or lack of proper resources due to the warfare rips their country apart and exposes its citizens to a world of fear and trauma. Countries like Yemen or Somalia, where famine and droughts are so severe millions of people are expected to die within a year, there is no available aide for people either from the local government or  countries that are close by. Countries like Mexico, torn apart by natural disasters, have no funds to help rebuild entire communities crushed at the hands of nature.

There are people who struggle every single day of their lives to merely survive, to simply stay alive and the best the world has to offer is a potential hashtag or viral filter available on Facebook. 

According to americanprogress.org, about 43.3 million “foreign born” people are currently living in the U.S. today, a number President Donald Trump hopes to see decrease with his strict immigration policies. 

In September, Trump passed an executive order that put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — a program put in place by the Obama administration in an attempt to help children who entered the U.S. under the age of 16 to get on a path to attain citizenship. 

Set to be put into full effect in March, Trump’s order has the potential to deport 800,000 young adults and children who would have otherwise been protected, according to The New York Times

DACA also serves undocumented students or students without any immigration status, individuals who may have entered the country through a work or education visa and either stayed past their expiration date or have filed for a renewal and is awaiting results by allowing a two-year “grace period” of sorts. 

This means for two whole years, individuals wouldn’t have to fear deportation and have the ability to freely work or attend school in the country, or file for proper documentation in order to attain complete citizenship. 

DACA does not protect any other family members who do not meet requirement for the program and has very strict guidelines for individuals who can apply for the program. For example, two criteria available for review at immigrationequality.org that must be met are individuals being under the age of 31 before June 15, 2015, and either attending school or being enrolled in the U.S. military or coast guard.

While many college students may not think about it, undocumented students make up a huge portion of not only college communities, but the work force and country as a whole. However, this is no simple feit. 

Undocumented students lack a social security card, a very important piece of documentation that may seem quite mundane to a typical citizen. 

The nine digits on a social security card are all it takes to snatch away students access to apply for jobs, receive federal aid or even obtain health care within the country. 

The same nine digits are what allows undocumented students to attend college and obtain a degree of higher education that could help better their lives. 

With Trump’s end to DACA, students on this very campus may suffer and can face the threat of deportation, an unfair punishment to face for merely attempting to reach a better standard of living. 

These students are just like any other at the college — hard working young people striving for success both for themselves and the greater community they hope to become part of one day.

The College at Brockport’s Citizens B. Alliance hosted “Let’s Talk DACA” on Wednesday, Nov. 14, where a former undocumented woman, Gabriela Quintanilla discussed the stigmas, obstacles and issues experienced by many students and their families who are either undocumented or have no immigration status. 

Amongst other points, Quintanilla’s main argument was DACA was never a form a citizenship, but rather allowed for students to work towards gaining complete citizenship. 

Undocumented students have just as much of an impact as everyone else in the college community and even if someone is not undocumented, it doesn’t mean the impacts of DACA or immigration reform don’t have a large impact them. 

Quintanilla also addressed stereotypes, such as the thought that all immigrants are Mexicans, undocumented individuals or individuals with no immigration status do not pay federal taxes, and people who enter the country either without a legal means or who overstay their legal visa expiration date are harmful to the overall progress of the country. 

Closing remarks of the discussion were focused on acknowledging the existence of undocumented students on campus, as well as community members working as allies with students of varying documentation status so that information regarding the issue may be spread and students will have a better understanding of options available both by the college and the country.

While there is great reason for many to feel a sense of urgency regarding this issue, there is also a reason for students and allies who feel that their voices aren’t being heard to know there are people working for their benefit as well as equity and inclusion. 

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