Democrats’ recent unsuccessful attempts to take action on the status of former Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients proves the safety of those individuals is not a priority in the House, but it should be for you.
DACA was enacted by the Obama Administration in 2012. It allows those who entered the country as children to avoid deportation and become eligible for a work permit. It was rescinded by the Trump Administration in September 2017, and around 800,000 lives have been in limbo since. The Trump Administration has yet to announce the status of former DACA recipients, but they could eventually be deported.
According to the Pew Research Center, over half of DACA recipients are under 25 years old. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are about 241,000 college students eligible for DACA. These people are our peers, our classmates, our coworkers. While we sit in our desks, they fear for their futures. Why is it we should be so lucky as to be born within a certain border?
These individuals came into the United States as minors, meaning their birth countries may by now be just distant memories. They may have no connections there, or they may have run from a dangerous situation. Our government seems bound to throw them back there.
We must not forget our mutual bond of humanity. Artificial boundaries should not determine people’s futures. What happened to the Statue of Liberty’s, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door”? What happened to Woody Guthrie’s “This land is your land, this land is my land”?
About 3 percent of Macon’s population is made of foreign-born residents, according to the U.S. census. They are business owners, fathers and students. They don’t just take from our communities, they enrich it and give back to it. According to USA Today, states as close as Florida and Texas house some of the highest numbers of former DACA recipients, so don’t think this issue isn’t close to home.
Our morality as a country has always been inclusive and merciful. And as college students, the plights of other countries should be obvious to us by now. Refusing to care, or take a stand or assert your opinion at this point is dangerous. People’s livelihoods are on the line, and they aren’t these anonymous outsiders. These are Americans.
It is true that throughout American history not all men are created equal in the eyes of the law. Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern and Hispanic immigrants have all been targeted by the American government. And with all these historical examples, it would be naive not to ask who’s next. Who will be the next target of hatred, persecution or deportation? Will it be your professor, your accountant, your friend? When will it be you?
After trying to understand the opposition for some time now, I have decided they must not have read John Donne, or at least they didn’t get it. He says, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” It may seem as though the plights of immigrants are unrelated to the average college student, but we are all involved in mankind, and the pain of another is the pain of you, of me and of us.