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DACA Deserves to Dream

“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.” – except if you have the job an American wants, except if Americans have to share resources with you, except if you are infringing on the comfort of American citizens.

President Donald Trump ordered an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) on Tuesday, Sept. 5, which shields young, undocumented immigrants, or ‘Dreamers,’ from deportation.

The five-year policy previously allowed these young adults to live without fear, gave them the right to work legally, enroll in college and obtain driver’s licenses. Since the Obama administration began the program in 2012, 787,580 individuals have been approved for DACA.

DACA is not a free pass to live in the U.S. illegally. To qualify, applicants must have lived in the U.S. before age 16 and since June 15, 2007. Individuals were not eligible if they were older than age 30 when the program was first enacted. Under DACA, Dreamers can legally remain in the U.S. for two years, at the end of which they must reapply for a renewal.

Although Trump ordered the end of the program, he sent his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to do the dirty work of announcing to the country his administration would no longer be protecting these thousands of young adults.

During his speech, Sessions said DACA “yielded terrible humanitarian consequences,” denied jobs to American citizens and was an “unconstitutional act of authority” and “failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and terrorism.”

Ignorant. Ignorant. Ignorant.

Since DACA started, recipients have proven to threaten neither public safety nor national security, especially since they must have a nearly spotless record to be considered. Not only so, but 9 out of 10 of these individuals are working taxpayers and deporting them could create a loss of $400 billion in the gross domestic product in the next ten years.

The program is legal and just, but more importantly it is based on the principles on which America was founded. America is not exclusive.

Imagine being one of these children, who moved to the U.S. not on their own accord, but by a decision their parents made for them. Is it right to take away their chance at the “American dream” just because they came from another country? Is it right to infringe on their opportunities when they are working in our market, helping our economy and fulfilling their duties as taxpayers?

America does not close its doors to people with clean records who have dreams. America is where the tired, the poor and “the huddled masses yearning to breathe free” are welcome. Our lamp should always be lifted beside the golden door.

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