D-A-C-A, It’s So Much More Than Just Four Letters

On Thursday Oct. 5, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that officially made California a sanctuary state.

This bill limits the ability of the state and local governments to question, hold or transfer people involved in immigration cases.

According to the Los Angeles Times, California houses 72 percent of the people in the United States who are actively protected by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

Children and young adults protected by DACA are called DREAMers, after Congress failed to pass the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in 2010.

The DREAM Act, initially introduced in 2001, offered the opportunity for undocumented children living in the United States to gain permanent legal residence, according to NBC News.

When then-President Barack Obama passed DACA as an executive order in 2012, it offered protection for the same undocumented population.

DACA ensures that 1.8 million DREAMers can stay in America, even after arriving with no legal immigration papers.

​Recipients must have a clear criminal record and have arrived in the United States before 2007 while under the age of 16.

Seniors at UPA and throughout the country struggle with financial aid applications, but undocumented students are especially worried about the application process as well as university attendance, according to junior-senior counselor Sandra Trotch because DREAMers are under the assumption that the police can find them through their applications.

But this is not the case, Trotch said, as immigration services are not connected to university systems, nor can they track students through financial aid paperwork.

On Sept. 5, President Donald Trump decided to “sunset DACA, no longer accepting new applications and letting the two-year permits expire without the option for renewal,” according to CNN Politics.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, as of November, no more DACAs, initial or renewal, are being accepted.

The people protected by DACA are predominantly from Mexico, Central American countries including the Caribbean, Asian countries such as the Philippines or North Korea.

The highest percentages of DREAMers currently reside in California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida, according to the American Immigration Council.

National Public Radio surveyed listeners and estimate that nearly two-thirds of Americans favor allowing DREAMers to remain in the United States.

Among that two-thirds was a surge of celebrities who used social media platforms to support DREAMers.

Latina singer Selena Gomez posted to her 127 million Instagram followers on Sept. 8, praising DREAMers.

“My definition of dreamer is someone that thinks big and believes anything is possible,” Gomez said in her post. “The wonderful people being threatened the unfortunate reversal of DACA are exactly that.”

Celebrities such as Emily Osment, Shailene Woodley, America Ferrera and Mark Ruffalo have also expressed their support for DREAMers and their frustration with Trump’s decision.