By Allan Caesar III
Pulse Staff Reporter
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, gives undocumented immigrants an opportunity to live legally in the U.S., have a job, go to school and own a home.
Some people think unfavorably of undocumented immigrants. They believe that this population avoids paying income taxes, commits murders, deals drugs and conducts crimes, influenced by the statements of President Donald J. Trump.
Government Professor Joseph M. Fonseca said that you can’t apply for DACA if you are a felon or have a serious misdemeanor, as that is grounds for deportation.
“The reality is that a lot of these people are homeowners. And they do own a home, they do have businesses, so they do pay taxes,” said Fonseca.
David Rojas, an alum of Palo Alto College and former DACA recipient, said, “Because of the new laws, I am not able to renew my application. So, it is scary for me because I can only imagine the moment I am deported. I would go to a country where I don’t know at all. Obama opened the door for all of us. So, we see him as an angel since he opened a path for us to follow our dreams and work. Trump, on the other hand, is making it difficult for us to continue with those dreams.”
Virginia Stowitts-Traina, department chair of Social Sciences, said, “What people do not understand, people born here think it’s just so easy to become a citizen. You just fill out a piece of paper, wait, and lo and behold, you’re granted citizenship. It is a long, drawn-out process. It is an expensive process.” She said that it is a process that can take up to 10 years.
A solution was offered for DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants called The Dream Act. The most recent bill was introduced on July 2017 by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Richard Durbin (D-IL), and in the House by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). However, the bill did not pass.
The bill would have allowed current, former and future undocumented high school graduates and GED recipients a 3-step pathway to citizenship through college, work or the armed forces.
Trump offered temporary protection for DACA recipients in exchange for wall funding on Jan. 19. The Democratic Party, however, rejected that offer.
Immigration researchers estimate there are 690,000 to 800,000 people under the program. DACA does not provide a path to citizenship. The Dream Act would have.
DACA is an executive branch memorandum signed by President Barack Obama on June 15, 2012. Trump announced plans to phase out DACA on Sept. 5, 2017. However, it has been placed on hold by several courts.
On Aug. 31, 2018, Texas Judge Andrew Hanen questioned the lawfulness of DACA, but the matter was not decided on as of this time.
If you are a student at PAC and are under DACA and need help, you may contact Professor Joseph M. Fonseca or Advisor Carmen Velasquez.
For more information, check out the Nation Immigration Law Center.