DACA students stand up

On Tuesday Sept. 5, the Trump Administration publicly announced the termination of Deferred Action for Children Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA. Under DACA, undocumented children, known as “dreamers,” are able to remain in the U.S. as long as they meet specific requirements. DACA allows dreamers to legally stay in the U.S., have the opportunity to continue their education, get a driver’s license, go to college, and receive a work permit. On March 5, 2018, Congress will make the decision on whether or not the policy will continue.

The cancellation of DACA will impact 800,000 children across the country, including some locally. Anarely Santana, senior, is directly affected by DACA; it provided her with a social security number and work permit. For Santana, DACA allowed her to feel safe with the knowledge that she was just like everybody else.

“When people have asked me if I’m from here or if I have my papers, it’s hard for me to say ‘no, I’m illegal,’ DACA kind of made me legal; I could be here legally, and that made me feel like I fit in with everybody else,” Santana said.

Emily Flores, senior, has a lot of friends under the protection of DACA, and feels frustration and sadness for the community affected by its termination. Flores believes the biggest issue with ending DACA would not be the confiscation of a driver’s license or social security number, but the risk of not being able to finish school.

“Everyone deserves to have an education and I know a lot of (DACA students) are trying to stay here and finish their education because that’s what matters to them the most. It’s just really sad to see that (the government) is no longer supporting them,” Flores said.

Luis Tun, senior, also feels let down and abandoned by the government. Although not under the protection of DACA, its termination makes Tun unable to apply for certain scholarships or go out of state for college.

“Compromising our rights for education is just cruel. Students have the right to further their education, and limiting us to do so shows that we are not here in the U.S. under equal protection,” Tun said.

Flores believes the executive order to remove DACA will leave people waiting for the unknown, risking the livelihood of many immigrants in the community.

“A lot of people will be afraid. People will be scared to go to school and go out more, considering that they are not protected,” Flores said. She fears that the affected students and community members might have to “go back to a country that they really never got to recognize or live in.”

Many DACA students, including Santana, feel like the U.S. is their home. Students who came to the U.S. with their parents, or at a young age, only have the experiences and memories made here in the United States. Santana and other DACA students recognized the U.S. as the place they know. However, Santana no longer feels secure in her environment. “I feel like I have no voice. I feel like I don’t belong here, and that I don’t deserve to be here,” Santana said.

Tun wants to encourage DACA students like Santana to find their voice in the community, and speak up in their opinions and beliefs. As Co-President of Latinos Unidos, Tun has been working with the Latino community by educating students on their rights and how to advocate for their beliefs. Tun hopes to plan a walk out in the near future where students in the community can protest against the removal of DACA.

“It’s our generation that needs to stand up for our rights and advocate for ourselves, because if we don’t, no one else is going to. We need to be the voices that are sharing our opinions and thoughts,” Tun said.

Santana explains that the next step for DACA students is to keep working hard, and stay focused in school. With the help of the Latinos Unidos club, Santana is able to help inform others about AP and IB courses on campus, and try to get more Latinos involved.

“Even if DACA is going to be taken away, we’re still going to persevere and accomplish our goals and I don’t think this should stop us,” Santana said.  

1 Comment

  1. Bill Gorback

    September 23, 2017 at 7:53 am

    I requested, at the Board meeting of September 5, I believe, that the Board issue a proclamation of support for CVUSD’s DACA Students. As of the last meeting, this past Tuesday, no such support proclamation has been issued. Keep on trying.

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