I am less than two semesters away from getting my associates degree in child development at California’s College of the Sequoias. This is a stop on my way to a doctorate in psychology.
But my plans and dreams may all ground to a stop because of President Trump’s decision on DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That’s the program that has allowed nearly 800,000 undocumented young people who came to the United States as children work and study without fear.
People like me. I am an immigrant protected by DACA. I came here when I was one year old.
President Obama created the DACA program in 2012 and it expires on September 5, unless President Trump acts to extend it.
That may mean the end of my dream to become Dr. Macias. That may mean the end of my American dream.
For people who have spent their lives scared of being deported, DACA means normality. DACA means having hope. DACA means working hard and knowing that hard work will pay off.
This nation has always stood for opportunity—and DACA provides that. It means I can work to make my dreams come true, and I can make a contribution to society. Ending DACA will mean almost 685,000 fewer workers and a loss of $460 billion from the national economy.
Americans have always valued families. I have family members who can pay their bills because DACA lets them work. Without DACA, my family will be unprotected, since my father—a citizen—never graduated from high school. DACA may be the difference between stability and homelessness.
My story is not special. I know many people who suffer from the lack of documentation. We just want to make our home, America, a better place.
Americans have always valued opportunity for all. Public opinion polls show nearly two-thirds of Americans want to see a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants like me. Both Republicans and Democrats want to give hard-working people a chance.
Some people think Donald Trump is a white supremacist, and that America is just for people who look like him. Some people don’t think he has a heart—except for Nazis or Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who President Trump pardoned after he was found guilty of ignoring court orders to stop targeting Latinos for arrest. I want to believe that there are enough people in his administration who believe racism is wrong, and who don’t want to tear apart families and end the dreams of young people who have grown up in America. I want to believe Trump will have a change of heart – and think of his own children before he makes a decision based on hate and fear.
Because America is my home and I refuse to give up on it.