Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Obama-era implemented policy which grants temporary protection to undocumented children who have been brought to and raised in this country. For many, this is the only country they know, “this is our home,” claimed by 700,000 DACA recipients across the nation. DACA recipients are allowed to obtain a renewable two-year period of protection against deportation which gives children across the United States the opportunity to go to work, to attend school and to live a somewhat normal life. All DACA recipients have been here for at least thirteen years—per USCIS requirement for the DACA application—so to many recipients, this executive protection is a form of acceptance from a country they consider home.
Across the United States, there are over 200,000 DACA recipients working as essential workers either protecting the health of Americans or contributing to the well-being of the younger generation as educators. Currently, over 29,000 health care workers are DACA recipients, doctors and nurses included. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been on the frontline putting their own lives at risk for their communities. Some DACA recipients are also teachers who uplift young students by setting them up for success. They are an intricate part of our society that contribute to many aspects of our social structure and community development.
The DACA program has not only positively impacted their surrounding communities, but it has also demonstrated that it can ameliorate mental health outcomes for DACA-eligible individuals. It has even alleviated poverty in immigrant households according to a study executed by Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes. It is an extraordinary executive policy that inherently stands for inclusivity, empathy and acceptance.
Unfortunately, the current US administration is against the implementation of the DACA program. The current renewal process for DACA recipients is still available, however, no new applications are being accepted. The federal court conservative majority has sided with the administration to abolish the program while the liberal justices acknowledge the urgency of maintaining such an essential program. This is a plight for humanity and survival that is affecting millions nationwide.
The supreme court has until the end of June this year to release their decision regarding the preservation of the DACA program. As the court decision looms over the whole country, it is salient that allies continue protesting, spreading awareness, and most importantly, plan to vote to fight for the DACA recipients in our country. It is essential that the struggles of the DACA community are recognized. With that in mind, it is especially important to make your voice heard on November 3rd, 2020. Voting creates an opportunity for the election of politicians who will execute policies that permit DACA recipients to contribute to our society without constant fear of impending deportation.
To the DACA students attending the University of Michigan, there are various resources that you can seek out including scholarships, specific UM contact information, and need-based grant funding found at https://finaid.umich.edu/undocumented-students/.