I was raised in the United States since the age of 6. My whole life seemed normal until sophomore year of high school. All my friends started talking about college, jobs, and getting their driver’s license. None of my family members had gone to college so I had no idea what direction to take. As I explained to my parents that I wanted to get a job to save up for a car and go to college, they told me I couldn’t because I wasn’t born here. It wasn’t until the immigration policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was passed that I was able to obtain my social security card and driver’s license.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was passed on June 15, 2012 under the Obama administration. This is an immigration policy that temporarily protects children and young adults who were brought by their parents either unlawfully or overstayed their visa by granting permission to stay in the United States and to receive limited benefits. These benefits include obtaining a social security number, driver’s license, and furthering their education. Deferred action individuals must meet certain requirements. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the requirements include: arrival to United States before 16, under the age of 31(before June 15, 2012), continuously present in the United States (since June 15, 2007), under the age of 31 when DACA policy was passed, no lawful status, currently in school or has graduated, and has no felonies or misdemeanors. The last requirement ensures that the applicant doesn’t pose a threat. The USCIS states there were 689,800 active DACA recipients as of September 2017. From that number of active DACA recipients ,76 percent are in the labor force, 25 percent go to college and work, and only 5 percent earn a bachelor’s degree.
Although DACA allows students to work and go to college, students may face obstacles. One obstacle students face is financial aid. DACA students have limited financial help causing a small percentage to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Most DACA students are paying for college out of pocket. In most states, DACA students are charged out of state tuition and have a limited number of scholarships. These scholarships mainly help recent high school grads but not those continuing to earn their college degree. DACA students do not qualify for financial aid or FASFA, preventing them to take out student loans. The student will be paying out of pocket, out-of-state, and on private loans accruing interest causing a higher debt. Another obstacle DACA students encounter would be travel. DACA recipients may travel within the state, but not out of the country. Because of this, DACA students may not participate in study abroad programs. DACA recipients also are at high risk of being separated from their families as their parents can be deported at any moment. If the parent is deported, they are left to take care of their siblings. Some students are here alone and when traveling out of the country is denied, they cannot see their family.
If the United States decides to end DACA, recipients would lose everything. Our jobs, licenses, and college opportunities. Not only would it affect us in the United States, but in whatever country we reside from. Students would be stuck in limbo because they risk not having the same education credit in their native country. When simply transferring from colleges, some credits may not transfer over, it is the same when transferring to another country. Some students may be forced to retake prep school or take tests to ensure their high school diploma is valid. Because DACA students came to the United States young, they are also not familiar with their native country. If they are the head of the family and DACA is rescinded, younger siblings would be left here alone. Ending DACA would end all opportunities for students as they have a higher chance of prospering and excelling here. Not to mention that having the DACA program is helpful to the U.S economy.
In conclusion, DACA students do not pose a threat. DACA students are people just like me. Our parents made a selfless decision for us to have a better life. DACA students did not purposely break the law, we simply had no choice. We just want to be part of your community. We want to be successful, so we can provide for our families and have a future. We would like to continue our education and have in-state tuition. Ending DACA would hurt the economy, the student, and overall the country.