Hope for DACA recipients

The DREAM Act Has Been Reintroduced And It May Have A Winning Chance This Time

Mitu -Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra • Great chances of becoming real!!

In a year marked by increased raids, travel bans, and repeated threats to DACA, the bipartisan reintroduction of the DREAM Act stands as a small victory for immigrant rights groups. While its passage is not certain, its chances are far from hopeless if immigrant communities continue to engage allies. Senator Dick Durbin first introduced the DREAM Act in 2001 to create a multi-step path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who, like me, arrived as minors. It would allow long-term residents who entered the country as minors to apply for conditional permanent residency and eventually citizenship if they first meet certain educational, military, or employment requirements. Opponents of the DREAM Act argue that it would inspire a wave of illegal border crossings. This is a myth. Only those who can prove that they entered before the age 18 and had been continuously present in the United States for at least four years prior to the date of enactment would be eligible for conditional residency. The DREAM Act is also not amnesty. The path to citizenship would take at least thirteen years. I would be 40 years old when I could naturalize. In 2010, the DREAM Act passed the House of Representatives but failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to clear the Senate. This time we can get it through. Assuming full Democratic support, we need at least nine additional Republican votes to avoid a filibuster. That number is not out of reach if we consider that seven current Republican Senators voted for comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, and two others support legislation protecting DACA recipients from deportation. Its prospects in the House of Representatives are dire than in the Senate, but not hopeless. A major obstacle in the House is that many congressional districts lack sufficient immigrant presence, making it easier for representatives to vote against the bill. Although Latino and Asian Americans tend to have a more recent connection to immigration, a poll conducted by Global Strategy Group shows that a majority of Americans support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Dreamers alone cannot push Congress to act. We also need allies to do so, especially in states like Pennsylvania where immigrants do not comprise a significant electorate. Allies add financial resources and electoral power to our movement. I have been encouraged by the support I have encountered across the state from people not directly impacted by the failures of our immigration system. It is our responsibility to educate and mobilize them. Failing to do so is tantamount to malpractice. What about President Trump, the man who built his political career on promises of merciless enforcement? Despite opposition from his base, Trump has softened his stance on DREAMers and has yet to end DACA, a discretionary policy allowing DREAM Act eligible youth to temporarily live and work in the United States. DACA made it possible for me to complete two graduate degrees, to pursue opportunities abroad, and find employment that I am passionate about. Its full impact, however, is more subtle. I feel it every time I drive past a police car knowing I am licensed to drive, or when I don’t stress about what to put on under Social Security in an application, or when I confidently advocate for the rights of my community. Now DACA is once again under threat. Passing the DREAM Act would provide us a path to citizenship and with it a level of security that DACA cannot. Our futures will no longer be at the mercy of the courts or whoever occupies the White House. Our community won DACA because we organized and fearlessly shared our stories with America. As we continue to build our power, let us reject language that denigrates our parents for doing their best for us. They have in many cases sacrificed their dreams and well being so that we may realize ours. Accepting a rhetoric that absolves us while convicting our parents for bringing us to this country makes us accomplices in their continued marginalization. Let us move forward without exploiting their struggle for our benefit. Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra is a graduate of Amherst and Cambridge Universities and currently works for the Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition (PICC).

More from DACA Scholars

New Court Update #DACA

February 13, 2018

As you know, President Barack Obama started DACA (Thanks for the activist that made it happen) and we all got work permits. Since his presidential campaign Trump promised to end the DACA program, and he send the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end it on live TV. All because the Attorney General in Texas created an imaginary March 5th deadline and threaten to sue Trump if he didn't cancel DACA. Since Trump didnt want to get sued by Texas and other Red States, he cancelled the DACA program and then... Several DACA recipeints and attorneys sued Trump for ending the program. There is 3 lawsuits involving #DACA. The 1st judge in San Francisco, California order the program to come back to live before AG Jeff Sessions cancelled it, this meant people who could re-apply could do it, unfortunately there is No New Applications and No AP (Advance Parole) Now Tuesday Feb 13th 2018, a new judge in Brooklyn, New York has also declared that the way Trump ended DACA was unlawful and the program should be back on and again No New Applications and No AP (Advance Parole) The Supreme Court could also decide to review the case, but they have until late April or June to figure that out, in the mean time this is great news!! Q; Where does this leave the current negotiations in Congress for a permanent solution? A; The negotiations are still on, we must put pressure in both houses and make sure it is a proposal that wont treat our parents as criminals.

$500-$5,000

Hispanic Scholarship Fund • Status: Open 53 DAYS TILL DEADLINE!

Description The HSF Scholarship is designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage obtain a college degree. Scholarships are available, on a competitive basis, to: High school seniors Undergraduate students (all years) Community college students transferring to four year universities Graduate Students AWARD Awards are based on merit; amounts range from $500 to $5,000, based on relative need, among the Scholars selected. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS Must be of Hispanic Heritage Minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for High School Students Minimum of 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for College and Graduate Students Plan to enroll Full-Time in an accredited, not-for-profit, 4-year university, or graduate school, during the FALL of a scholarship cycle (year) U.S. Citizen, Permanent Legal Resident, DACA or Eligible Non-Citizen (as defined by FAFSA) Complete FAFSA or state based financial aid application (if applicable) OTHER All majors and graduate fields accepted Emphasis on STEM majors

Gov Shutdown #DACA

The Government Shutdown is here, however this should not stop you from sending your #DACA renewal packets!! The Post Office USPS will be working and USICS so send them as soon as you can. In other news, the Supreme Court will make a decision on DACA during the month of June, so we have until then to re-apply, if you need money for your renewal visit Mission Asset Fund.