On Sept. 5, President Donald Trump announced his decision to rescind the DACA program. For those who aren’t up to date on DACA, here’s the explainer: DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This program came into existence in 2012 as an Executive Order made under the Obama Administration. So, what did DACA do? It allowed young adults under 31 years old who met a list of requirements to apply for two years of deferral and work authorization, including those who had a clean arrest record, were enrolled in school or graduated and were physically present on June 15, 2012.
If the applicant met the qualifications they were given a work permit, a Social Security Number and temporary protection from deportation. DACA recipients do not receive any health benefits or welfare benefits. The decision to end DACA will affect about 800,000 immigrant youths who now have six months to get Congress to pass the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would grant lawful permanent resident status to those that meet the requirements listed in the bill. For a DACA recipient, this would be a permanent solution that could lead toward citizenship.
So now that you know the basics in abstract, here’s how this matters to a college student ready to graduate. My name is Fryda, and I’m from Mexico City, Mexico. I’m majoring in international studies, socio-legal studies and Spanish. I just started my last year at DU. I came to America in 1996, and I have been in Colorado ever since. I am a Coloradan, through and through. I’m an American, even. I have a 3.8 GPA, and I am currently working at DU as the first ever DACA/undocumented student support coordinator. DU has given me the opportunity and resources to reach out to affected students in our community and make changes that will improve their lives on campus and help them be successful. This has further pushed me towards working on getting my master’s in higher education so that I can continue the work I’m currently doing. I am ready for the workforce, and I can’t wait to contribute to my community.
DACA was rescinded right before classes started. Prior to all of this DACA turmoil, I was set on going to graduate school to get my masters degree in higher education. I could see myself working, building a career and living out my dreams. I wanted to give back to this system that had given me so such. DACA gave me a sense of normalcy. That is now gone. Come March, I could lose everything that I have ever worked for. It’s devastating to think that I will graduate but that I won’t be able to use my degree. It’s debilitating. Very few of my colleagues on this campus face this reality. But for me, every day since Sept. 5, I have feared that I could be be forced to leave everything and everyone behind. These thoughts haunt me. And this isn’t a sob story about missing out on senior year. Screw that. Each day it’s harder to imagine a future in this country.
Yet, I remind myself of the sacrifice that my parents made so that I could be where I am today. I remind myself of all the DACA and undocumented youth affected. I think about them and know that I can’t give up. The fight must continue. One day future generations will look back and remember the struggles of those who fought for the future of immigrants.
So, humans of DU, while this decision may not hit home personally, it’s really hitting home in your front yard. I don’t have the privilege of ignoring this problem, and I’m asking my DU community to stand with every Dreamer. After all, this country was built on a dream, and it’s that very dream that needs protection in these times.
For ways to get involved and stay informed, DU has a Resource Page, and there’s the DU Emergency Fund that provides limited emergency financial assistance to currently enrolled DU students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardships related to an unexpected situation. You can also visit the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, United We Dream and UndocuMedia, a group that leverages digital and social media to empower the undocumented community throughout the US.