By Joana of Citizen Schools
Have you heard anything about DACA and/or DAPA? DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA is an American immigration policy founded by the Obama administration in June 2012. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents sometimes called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, is a planned American immigration policy to grant deferred action status to certain undocumented immigrants. DAPA and DACA give immigrants opportunities such as employment, but there are some downsides to DACA and DAPA that affect many immigrants. DACA and DAPA programs do too little to protect undocumented immigrants while allowing them to legally stay in the US because their rights can be easily taken away and they don’t know if they can get citizenship. But others, like Republicans think that immigrants get too much support because there is too much spent on the immigrants.
The first reason that DACA and DAPA programs do too little to protect undocumented immigrants because their rights can be easily taken away. Trump wants to impact immigrant’s lives in a negative way, “…striking Obama’s executive action on immigration are among his top priorities according to Trump’s 10-point plan to put America first,” (Chicago Sun-Times). This shows that at any given moment, Trump might announce that he will remove these programs unexpectedly, impacting many immigrants. The American Immigration council says, “As of December 31, 2015, over 700,000 young people have received DACA, broadening their educational opportunities,” showing that amount of immigrants lives can get impacted if the government takes DACA away. This country uproars with stereotypes against Hispanics that are either documented or not, but some citizen don’t really take in Hispanics opinions due to stereotypes about them not getting information or they are known as illegal and they don’t know what they are saying.
In addition, many citizens think that undocumented immigrants are criminals and many other stereotypes like all immigrants are lazy or they can’t afford a ‘proper home’. According to Pew Research Center, “About eight-in-ten (79%) say immigrants are a burden because they take jobs, housing and health care, while only 14% believe immigrants strengthen the U.S. because of their hard work and talents,” (The Political Typology). Immigrants have a lot of rights thanks to DACA and DAPA, but they are supposedly not using it effectively. Citizens are not willing to expand the programs because citizens think that these programs aren’t used effectively by immigrants. Some citizens opinions is that immigrants are not as hardworking as expected and this connects to the main point because with what the citizens think and when they see immigrants not doing anything, that leads them making assumptions about immigrants. U.S. citizens contribute to the programs helping immigrants. Some immigrants use these rights and financial aid wisely, but some do not. Through DACA and DAPA, immigrants have rights like a permit to work that needs to be renewed every two years, and have protection from deportation. With these programs some citizens think immigrants have more rights than citizens themselves do. CNN reported that, “Texas, the only state whose standing was explicitly recognized by the court, specifically argued that the immigrants’ “lawful presence” would require the state to provide them with “state-subsidized driver’s licenses” and unemployment insurance.” This shows that in a political view, some people think the immigrants abuse what they are given such as driver’s licenses.
DACA and DAPA also do too little for immigrants because health insurance is not included in the programs of the DACA and DAPA, in which health insurance is a very important benefit. In National Immigration Law Center it shows, “As noted above, DACA and DAPA grantees are not eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, except for emergency Medicaid services,” (MILC). Not having health insurance is very problematic to immigrants and citizens should be able to get help and understand what’s wrong with them, immigrants should be able to go to the doctor to check what’s wrong with them and prevent major illness. Everyone should be able to get the care they need regardless of who they are. While undocumented immigrants can get help in emergency situations, they should be able to have physicals or be treated for non-life-threatening illnesses like the flu.
Alternatively, some U.S. citizens think DACA and DAPA do too much for undocumented immigrants. These citizens are scared to provide this aid to immigrants because they believe it could potentially taking away aid from programs for citizens. Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, said, “It’s an illegal program. The president, simply, has no authority to grant benefits to millions of people.” Citizens think that it’s unfair because they’ve been in the country longer or they were born in the country and because of the hard word they’ve done, their tax money goes to undocumented workers instead of programs for them.
Overall, DACA and DAPA are programs that aim to give undocumented students and parents a better future. DACA and DAPA do too little for immigrants because the health insurance situation, many U.S. citizens stereotype immigrants as criminals, stereotype immigrants as criminals,”, and that immigrants’ rights are not secure under these laws. that immigrants’ rights are not secure under these laws.But some other people that disagree with DACA and DAPA because they do too much to protect the undocumented ones. Many lives are in danger with this one decision.
SO WHAT? WHY DO WE CARE?
DACA and DAPA support immigrants and give them a head start, but in today’s news, DACA is at risk of being terminated. According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, DACA and DAPA can disappear any day now because of the decisions of our government. Immigrants in this country depend on DACA and DAPA and feel miserable because the people who depend on this law feel powerless. If they take away DACA, then there might not be as many immigrants in the United States as there were before. This information worries a lot of families, including my friends’ families because they started a life in the United States and all of sudden it will be taken away like a mother snatching a lollipop from a kid who’s not allowed to have sugar. The potential removal of DACA is devastating because a lot of families are in danger of being separated. I have friends who are immigrants, people I work with who are immigrants, and parents who are immigrants. We all grew up in Chelsea, a place that we struggle in and a town that we call home.
I grew up in a small urban city called Chelsea in Massachusetts. Chelsea is a city of immigrants trying to make a great life with what they have. It is the city “with the highest percentage of immigrants in the state. [Where] many residents hail from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.” (Boston Globe, 2016). DACA and DAPA help these immigrants to have a better homes than they did before they came to the United States and give them job opportunities. They have better electricity, cleaner water, and have better access to healthcare, even though they can’t get health insurance. Immigrants want to create better homes for their kids and try to give them everything they want. Children of immigrants want to have access to education after high school, they want to go to college and pursue their dreams of being someone important in this world like a surgeon or a lawyer. They just want a better life. People that come from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, etc. have struggles in their daily life back then and they want to benefit financially in the future in the U.S.