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Immigration reform: Are we still in the land of the free?

DACA recipients and other young immigrants march with supporters as they arrive at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, March 5, 2018. The program that temporarily shields hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation was scheduled to end Monday by order of President Donald Trump but court orders have forced the Trump administration to keep issuing renewals, easing the sense of urgency.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

J. Scott Applewhite

DACA recipients and other young immigrants march with supporters as they arrive at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, March 5, 2018. The program that temporarily shields hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation was scheduled to end Monday by order of President Donald Trump but court orders have forced the Trump administration to keep issuing renewals, easing the sense of urgency. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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With a new president and political party in the White House, many laws and programs, that former president Barack Obama previously passed, have been and are being repealed by the current president, Donald Trump. One of these programs president Trump is planning to do away with is the DACA program. Some may question, with the president’s new perspective on immigration, is America still the land of the free?

What is DACA?

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In 2012 under Barack Obama, the federal government program, DACA was created to allow people brought to the United States illegally as children the temporary right to live, study, and work in America. The first step of the program is a vetting system for those who apply. Those persons are vetted for any criminal history or threat to national security. Also they must be students or have completed school or military service. If they pass the vetting process, action to deport them is deferred for two years. With this, they become eligible for basics like a driving license, college enrollment, and/or a work permit. The last step is being able to renew this before the two years is up.

The “Dreamers”:

These said people protected under DACA are known as the “Dreamers”. On June 15th 2012, the Dreamers had to be younger than 31 and lacking legal immigration status to apply. They also had to have arrived in the United States before age 16 and had to have lived here continuously since June 2007. According to the White House, most Dreamers are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and the largest numbers live in California, Texas, Florida and New York.

The Problem:

787,580 dreamers were granted approval for DACA before president Trump announced in September 2017, his feelings towards DACA and motions to getting rid of the program by March 2018. Attorney general Jeff Sessions said that in March 2018 the U.S. would end DACA. As of now the Department of Homeland Security has assured that it is still processing any renewal documents, but no new applications will be accepted.

Are we still the land of the free?

The United States of America became known as the “land of the free” after gaining independence from Great Britain. The term “land of the free” became debatable after events like, slavery, the Indian Removal Act of 1830, The Women’s Rights Movement, The Civil Rights Movement and The Gay Rights Movement. All of these were times that a group of people were not given equal rights, and for only some of them a solution came from the event. The argument can be made that the same is happening to the Dreamers.

The Dreamers were brought here illegally under the age of 16 by their parents. Since they did not choose to come here illegally, how is it fair to punish them? Their parents clearly brought their children to the United States to give their children a better life. If almost 800,000 of dreamers recently passed the vetting process, we are making the term “the land of the free” once again debatable if DACA is no longer taking applicants.

Like always, there are going to be a few people who are not following the rules. Although there are some dreamers who are not applying for DACA and still staying here illegally, it is not fair to fully shut down all of DACA for a few dreamers not following directions when 800,000 dreamers are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, embracing the opportunities the “land of the free” has to offer.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Immigration reform: Are we still in the land of the free?”

  1. Michael Cole on March 20th, 2018 8:24 am

    Well, the Trump Administration proposed a deal to the democrats that would actually grant the same protection Obama gave to 1.5 million Dreamers, which is obviously much much more than 787,580. However, because in the deal they wanted to end ways to get into the country that are completely unreasonable and in some ways, discriminatory, like diversity lotteries and chain migration, the Democrats shut it down. The immigration system is in desperate need of reform, so that people who would be a positive aspect of their communities in America CAN get in and people who would be a negative aspect of their communities CAN’T get in. If Democrats could actually make a compromise, then maybe we could get this reform. America is still the land of the free, we accept the most immigrants per year in the world, and we are still seen as the land of opportunity around the world. Articles like these distract from any repairs to our system, in favor of uncompromising partisanship.

  2. Keith on March 20th, 2018 4:50 pm

    We are the land of the free for citizens otherwise you don’t matter.

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Immigration reform: Are we still in the land of the free?