Willow Kwak: Why DACA should be continued

Published: 1/20/2020 2:41:25 PM

Right now the Supreme Court of the United States of America is debating the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

I support the continuation of DACA because it helps many people. DACA is a program initiated by President Obama in 2012 that offers protection from deportation for people who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Around 700,000 people are currently protected by DACA, and without it, they could be deported.

Individuals must renew it by application every two years and it comes with benefits like work permits and social security. However, it does have limitations: it doesn’t offer a pathway to citizenship or opportunities for financial aid. It simply allows them to live in the United States and provide for themselves and their families.

On Sept. 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced the termination of DACA, meaning no more applications would be accepted. DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers,” were allowed to apply for another two years if their permits expired before March 5. Those permits ended on Oct. 5, 2019.

Decisions in low level courts currently protect many immigrants until the Supreme Court rules on whether terminating DACA was legal, which is slated for June 2020. DACA protects people who want to live peacefully. Conservatives argue that the Dreamers are criminals, but in reality, the requirements for the program are extremely strict, and DACA recipients are no more likely to commit crimes than other groups.

The program encourages people to attend college and become responsible citizens. As the baby boomer generation retires, young people are needed in the workforce. In a climate of political turmoil, 700,000 people are in limbo, fighting for the right to stay in the country they call home.

I want to take a moment to appreciate all the brave people who testified in the Supreme Court in support of DACA and the lawyers that represented them. While America is enthralled by the impeachment hearings, let’s not forget those who have too long been in the shadows.

Willow Kwak, 13

Amherst




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