The Eagle's Eye

What is the status of DACA? What will happen if the program ends?

Raidy Zanjeel, Staff Writer

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In recent months, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been one of the most controversial topics among politicians in Washington, D.C.

Members of Congress and President briefly shutdown the government in January when they could not develop a compromise that would protect the young people the program was meant to address.

While politicians continue to argue about the passage of a clean DREAM act, students at Akins who are part of the DACA program are worried about their status as the new deadline for the program’s expiration approaches on March 5.

The Eagle’s Eye interviewed College and Career Counselor Sarah Simmons to ask her some of the common questions students have about the DACA program.

Our interview follows:

The Eagles Eye: How are you dealing  with the kids that need the DACA program?

Sarah Simmons: I am working as if nothing has changed. For the moment, technically until March, nothing has. I tell my DACA students that they must get an education. It is the single most valuable thing that no one can ever take away from you. The world will not always be as crazy as it is today. You must work for that day and not focus on the winds blowing around us right now.

EE: How are you feeling about it?

SS: Honestly, above my many concerns with the state of our country and its political climate, I feel this one issue will impact our future more than most others. That is because this issue deals specifically with children. Yes, some of DACA recipients have grown into their 20s now, but most are still in their teens or younger.  These people are the most vulnerable in our world. They were brought to our country on the power of hope for a better future. This is what our country represents the world. We are a not perfect nation, but if we send these innocent people away from us, we are sending a very awful message to not only these children, but the world: America no longer wants to be the model for the world on caring about your fellow human beings. Sending DACA recipients away from the Unites States (and I carefully do not say “back to their country, they are Americans). If we do not protect these children who contribute to our society, our schools, our culture, to the fabric of our society, then what will DACA children think of us? What will the world think of us? Who will be next?

EE: What is the plan if DACA protection is lost?

SS: We will protest. We will vote in politicians who will fight for the rights of vulnerable individuals. We will not remain quiet. We will use the courts in any way possible. There are already lawsuits prepared to submit should this not happen by March. This will not be the end of this issue; people do not just just fade away. If DACA recipients were to (be) removed from this country people could not believe the deficit that would be felt.

If students have concerns about their DACA status, they can send questions to local public service legal organizations such as the Equal Justice Center. The teacher’s union Education Austin hosts Know Your Rights seminars around town, and resources concerning activism can be found at the United We Dream website, unitedwedream. org.

 

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