DACA and Our Collective Failed Promise

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Virginia Santy | @ginnamccarver

What does it mean to make a promise to a kid?

In 2012, the U.S. made a promise to kids who came here illegally. If you were under the age of 16, if you didn’t have a felony, and if you agreed to share immense amounts of personal information about yourself—including every address you’ve had and how to find you—you could stay in the U.S.

Hundreds gathered at Auraria Campus yesterday, September 5th, to protest the DACA decision. Photo credit: Katherine Miller. 

Hundreds gathered at Auraria Campus yesterday, September 5th, to protest the DACA decision. Photo credit: Katherine Miller. 

And that’s how things went for five years. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protected immigrant kids from deportation and allowed them to pursue education and career opportunities. Previously undocumented kids could now apply for authorization to attend school, go to college, get jobs.

In essence, for the past few years, DACA has allowed kids the chance to build a life in the U.S. Free from fear of deportation, and with an expectation they would grow up to contribute to their communities, kids under DACA have demonstrated their trust in our national government.

DACA died yesterday as President Trump’s administration bended to pressure from Attorneys General who demanded he end the program. As it did, so did the promise the U.S. made to kids who have built lives here. Yesterday was a gross failing by our nation to keep a promise; it was also a violation of trust.

How can each of us make amends for this?

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Certainly, we can call our public officials and ask them to support the DREAM Act 2017 (see inset), making the concept of DACA less susceptible to political maneuverings.

I am hoping we can also come together to see the children of these broken promises as charges within our care. We owe them more than the collective message we are now sending. My counter message is this: we see you, we care about you, we value you, we want you to stay here--in your home.

What does it mean to mend the damage of a broken promise made to a kid?

It means showing them, every day, you are worthy of their investment in you and their trust. It means doing your best to make things right again.  


Additional resources:

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family as DACA Ends, from Meyer Law Office