DACA: September 1, 2017

Dear Mr. VP,

It’s September, which means in a few weeks I’ll be reading scholarship applications.

I’ve done this every year since I started staying home with G. The first year they gave me applications from the Coachella Valley, and that’s what I’ve requested to read since.

Unsurprisingly, given the location, many of the students I read have undocumented parents and/or are themselves undocumented. Many of them have applied for and received DACA status. As you know, DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This year, I’m expecting fearful application essays, from kids who have put their names in a federal database and may no longer be protected from deportation.

Here are the guidelines you have to meet to be eligible for DACA, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

You may request DACA if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Read #7 again. Immigrants are not eligible if they have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. 

In other words, ending DACA is not about safety of U.S. citizens. We’re talking about kids who didn’t choose to break the law by coming to this country — they were brought by their parents or other adults — and have no significant criminal history. They are in school, or have a high school degree or equivalent. Some of them are veterans who chose to serve this country in the military even despite a lack of citizenship. (Isn’t it interesting that we’ll allow undocumented people to sign up as cannon fodder but don’t want them to have a driver’s license? The military-industrial complex is so great.)

No, this is about white supremacy and xenophobia. This is about getting as many brown people out of our country as possible.

You’re a parent. How does the thought of kids being displaced not kill you inside? These are people brought here as children, who had no say in the choice. Many of them live in fear of being deported. DACA was a respite, of sorts, though of course they  knew it could be taken away by a next president. Can’t you think about your own kids in that position? Doesn’t that impact you at all?

Here’s the only silver lining this morning: the owning-class is continuing to splinter. Many CEOs recognize that closed borders and isolationism are bad for business, and they’re more interested in profit than holding the line on white supremacy. While I’m not particularly excited about partnering with them to fight you, I’ll take whatever I can get.


p.s. By the way, Emma is useless.


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