I’ve thought about this post for a week since it was announced that DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) would end in six months. In fact, I wanted to write on here every few days, but DACA required a lot of reading. There’s a lot of noise around it so I wanted to strip it down to its facts.
As soon as I heard that DACA was going to end, the book that came to mind immediately was Diane Guerrero’s In the Country We Love: My Family Divided. As an American, she was allowed to stay, but her family was deported when she was 14 years old. It’s been on my list to read for a while because it deals with a subject that’s very real here in Texas. While her parents were illegal immigrants, her life was forever changed when they were deported as well. This book isn’t about someone who benefits from DACA, but its one of many reasons serious reform is sorely needed.
I’ve had a general idea of what DACA was when it was enacted. If you only listened to people talking about it, you would believe it was either a relief for children brought over as minors or a menace because those children feed off our society. What is it really?
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, here are a few standards of DACA:
- You were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, came to the US before you turned 16, and lived in the US since June 15, 2007 until now.
- Have no lawful status
- Currently attending school, completed your GED or high school degree, or honorably serving in the military
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and don’t pose a threat to national security.
- You have to collect proof of all of this to submit for consideration for DACA.
- There is no way you can appeal if you’ve been rejected unless there was an administrative error.
- It costs $465 to apply for DACA. Renewals are required every two years.
- And much, much more. I’m not a legal expert so if you want to read more, I’d recommend going to the source of it. If you think you know what it’s about, believe me, you probably don’t know everything. Go read it.
Almost 800,000 children and young adults have signed up for this, regardless of the risks. According to a study done by the Center for American Progress, 46% of them are currently in school with 55% working towards their Bachelor’s degree. They also reported that 5% were business owners, 93% have car insurance, 54% bought their first car, and 14% have paid off some or all of their student loans. 12% are homeowners as well.
The economic proof is there that DACA created 800,000 productive people in this country that contribute to our society, pay taxes, own business, etc. However, DACA is a temporary solution to a problem with how we handle immigration matters. It also faces legal challenges due to the use or abuse of executive power.
After reading about it, I compare DACA to a bridge. One side is being brought over as a child. The other is legal status in the US. They’re stuck on the bridge waiting to find out if they will ever be able to make America home for good. I’d recommend anyone who is a voter in this country to take a look at the four main solutions being presented in Congress now. This effects everyone, even if you’re not an immigrate.
If you managed to make it through all of that without falling asleep (Hello there!), the second book that came to mind was one of my favorites of 2017: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. This one deals with two people whose country is torn apart by war and they have to migrate to other countries in search of a new home. However, the story is less about migration and more about how people deal with that, love, building a life, and a dose of magical realism.
This debate is ongoing and I’m not going to try to predict where it’s going to go. If you have any recommendations for books on Mexican immigration to America or DACA or even just immigration in general, let me know! It’s a topic I’d love to learn more about.
Until next time, happy reading!