Organizations and Dreamers in Ohio take action in supporting DACA to protect unauthorized immigrants

by Olivia Buster ’20

On Sept. 17, the Trump administration announced its plans in rescinding DACA. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DACA allowed more than 4,400 young people in Ohio and nearly 800,000 nationwide, to live and work legally.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, was a program created by an executive order from the Obama administration. The program protects young adults who immigrated to the United States before turning 16, since the order was issued in 2012.

Some people view the program as essential in assisting children that had no choice in immigrating to the United States. Others see it as an incentive for more children to enter the country illegally.

Sophomore Ben Mollica believes DACA has its flaws.

“I would say that DACA should end, but the people already registered in DACA should get a pathway to citizenship. All of the other illegal immigrants should be deported because if people came here legally, we wouldn’t be dealing with this problem,” Mollica said.

The Dream Act, which was introduced in 2001, created a process in which undocumented immigrants could receive permanent residency if they entered the country before turning 16 and had lived continuously in the United States for five years. However, the Act failed to pass through Congress numerous times. DACA was a compromise to the Dream Act giving DACA recepients the nickname “Dreamers.”

Nathali Bertran, a Dreamer and member of DACA Time, is worried for Dreamers’ futures.

“I think DACA has provided a lot of great benefits but again no path to citizenship. I’m more worried that Congress will not figure out a way to pass permanent legislation,” Betran said.

The organization DACA Time  is a platform for community advocates of DACA. Another activist group in Ohio is Peace-Builders.

Sophomore Grace Taylor, a member of Peace-Builders rallied support for DACA within the group.

“We’re all about youth activism: that’s our main thing. Intercultural relationships are how we got into DACA, but we’re also big into interfaith because we are an interfaith group. We’ve done interfaith prayer gatherings which also had a little bit to do with DACA,” Taylor said.

Peace-Builders also wrote letters to members of Congress urging their support for DACA.

Bertran is a witness to the misconceptions behind Dreamers.

“It seemed like a lot of people think we are Dreamers, because either we are not smart enough to figure out how to get our citizenship or because we want to cheat the law,” Bertran said. “The truth is that there was no legal way for Dreamers to apply [for citizenship].”

After she recieved a private scholarship to go to the City College of New York. Bertran recieved negative comments from Facebook users such as Karen Dyrli saying “[Bertran] can leave” and that it was unfair that “American students must take out loans and be in debt so she can have it for free.”

Bertran got a degree in engineering, a field that is in shortage of workers. According to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the United States needs to increase its yearly production of undergraduate STEM degrees by 34 percent to match the forecasted demand for STEM proffessionals.

An end to DACA would cost Ohio more than $251.6 million in GDP losses annually according to the Interfaith Worker Justice organization.