Losing hope


Angel Garcia

800,000 Americans were left in silence on September 5, 2017 when President Donald Trump announced the cancellation of DACA (Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals), which allowed undocumented immigrants under various circumstances the ability to possibly gain resources such as jobs, college degrees, driver’s licenses, and many other essentials.

  The president declared in a tweet, “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”

  One West Michigan teenager, Emily Perez (not her real name), has been hit with this sudden news at the worst of times. Perez is only 17,  a senior in high school looking to find what road she will take after graduation. She was planning on getting a college degree in business to help people in any way she can. With the uncertain future of DACA, she is unsure of what options she will have to make something of herself.

  The first time her mom informed her that she was not a legal citizen, it was heartbreaking. Thoughts raced through her mind. “How will I be able to work, go to school or college?”

  In 5th Grade, Perez was on the verge of becoming a middle schooler and began talking to her mom, explaining how excited she was on her next steps towards graduating. How she was hopeful for all the things that were in store and what she wanted to be when she got older. Her mom had sat her down to explain to her, “Emily, you weren’t born in this country so you can’t do those things. You can’t go to college, or get a good job, or drive a car. We’re considered to this country illegal immigrants because we weren’t born here, so the government won’t let us have those freedoms.”

  She always tried her best in school looking towards the future, and what it might hold for her. Hoping that if she could get her papers and become a member of DACA that everything would go smoothly and she would be able to make her hopes and dreams become a reality. With the recent news coming to her attention, those dreams were quickly altered. She fears the worst. All she had hoped for. Gone.

  Many people are under the impression that becoming a member of DACA is a short and sweet process. Not for Perez, who was raised by a single parent. Although her mom was the only person she saw, and was raised by, her father still legally had just as much custody over Perez as her mother because there was never a custody battle. Her father had to give consent for every step of the process. The last Perez and her father spoke, to say the least, did not end well due to the hurt inside Perez’s heart from being abandoned as a child. Because of the past conflict they had, her father would not give her the permission she needed to become a member of DACA. Since they were unable to come to an agreement this prolonged her quest to become a member, and if not for this delay she may have been a member before the DACA Program became postponed. This resulted in the loss of hundreds of dollars in legal processes including a name change, attempts at custody, and so on. All these payments took a hit on the Perez family as they were already struggling financially. Now with the possible permanent cancellation of DACA, all that time and money is gone without any purpose. Even if DACA is reinstated, she will once again go through the membership process costing her family the same financial issues with expenses such as legal costs, time off work, and legal processes.

  Perez had a very good case in becoming a member. She, as a teenager, had no history of any legal trouble. She had good grades, along with all the school papers and doctors’ documentation she needed to prove she has been a resident in the United States since she was a small child. The only remaining factors were to get her passport and fingerprint done in order to officially be a member of DACA. This would mean the government would give her, in a matter of months, a social security card and other legal documents allowing her to get a job, obtain a driver’s license, and many other things that are essential to the everyday American.

  So much pressure is put on her because of her lack of citizenship. She sees herself as an outcast and a burden to her family not being able to provide for herself, while having a constant dependence on her mother. It makes her want to hate the world because the position she’s in but she holds those feelings back when she realizes it’s truly no one’s fault. This was just the life she was put into.

  Fortunately for those people already enrolled in DACA, if before October 6, may turn in their papers in order to renew their membership for another 2 years. Perez is doing her best to keep a positive attitude towards her situation, in the belief that over this 6 month time period Congress will pass a law making DACA an official government program, and not an unofficial program like it currently is.

  Trump has called the illegal immigrants of America rapists, criminals, and other diminishing names, making many Americans hate them and get a false impression of the majority of these innocent people who are only trying to take their families out of a terrible place to live out the free lives God intended for them. Now with Trump giving one last shot at DACA leaving it to Congress to legalize the program, it gives Perez hope that the president might still give some support to illegal immigrants, and that he might now realize the mistake he has made.

  If Congress does legalize DACA, this will mean Perez will have to once again go through the dragging process of trying to gain membership which was difficult to start with. If Congress fails to legalize DACA this leaves Perez with the great fear of at any moment her whole world could turn upside down. Going through the majority of the DACA process she understands that the government now has all her information and at any given moment could come knocking at her door to take her away from her family into a country where she has no place to call home.