The end of DACA to affect more than 50 Kamiakin students

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  On Sept. 5 President Trump terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program.
Besides the obvious nationwide effect, the dissolution of DACA will also affect Kamiakin.    

  “We have about 130 migrant students here at Kamiakin. [DACA] grants a work permit and it gives permission to undocumented students who are in the U.S. to stay here and not be deported,” said Migration Graduation Specialist Ana Claro.

  As of now, Claro said, students in the DACA program, known as Dreamers, are being given a grace period, where they can renew their DACA status for up to six more months, but after that, their future in the U.S. is unclear.

  “After 6 months, we don’t know what’s going to happen. I know some students who have the DACA permit…and now they’re just kind of in limbo,” said Claro. “What’s going to happen to them?”

  Claro said of the 130 DACA students at Kamiakin, up to 40 percent are facing the possibility of deportation.

  She also said that many of the Dreamers came to the U.S. before the age of 5, so they have no real knowledge of life in their native countries.

  “I mean they’re only [teenagers], so they probably came here when they were under 5 years-old. This is the only country they know. This is their country, too,” said Claro. “They’re going to go to a country where they’re strangers. They’re going to go to a country where they haven’t lived. They’re going to go to a country that they know very little about. Even though they were born [somewhere else], they were raised in the U.S.”    

  An anonymous senior said that while they are a legal U.S. resident originally from Mexico, they can sympathize with the Dreamers’ fears of deportation.  

  “If I was in their position…I’d just be so scared to move because I wouldn’t be familiar with anything. I’d be like an alien…even though I’m supposed to fit in because I look like them and I am them,” they said.  

  They also said that members of their family are in the U.S. illegally, and they worry that now, with the end of DACA, those family members may have to leave the U.S.

  “I do have that fear for my family…because that’s scary. I say that DACA doesn’t affect me personally but it affects people around me,” they said. “It’s just that fear that I won’t be able to see my family again.”

   The student also said because Dreamers come to the U.S. so young, they establish important bonds and ties here.

  “A lot of those immigrants that came here…have so many friendships here. [They have] so many ties here to the high school. If they were just to leave, I feel like it’d just be a different environment here, and not a nice one at that,” they said. “That’s why personally I am against [the termination of the DACA program]. People have their reasons to be for it, but I personally don’t think that it was a smart move.”            

  Claro said that while she thinks terminating DACA was a bad idea, the program was only a temporary fix for undocumented students in the U.S. because it didn’t lead to citizenship.  

  “I’m pretty sure that every DACA student would want to become a U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident, at least, but there’s no path. It’s very very hard for people to understand,” she said. “The DACA students, they’re worthy of being U.S. citizens because they contribute to the country and they’re just good people.”     

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
A Sept. 5 pro DACA rally in Seattle.

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