As a first generation Mexican-American, I was more than ecstatic to hear that President Obama had presented the DACA and DAPA programs.

Finally, millions of families would be able to live in peace – to live without constant worry and fear of being arrested and deported.

Having lived in fear myself, I knew the power that one piece of paper has. The piece of paper that basically says “you are welcome here.”

If the government accepts you, you have a better chance of being treated like a real person. Securing a good paying job becomes more realistic. Going to school becomes an option. And being sent to a country you haven’t stepped foot in 20 years becomes an unrealistic threat.

Here’s how these programs were meant to be great:

In 2014, President Obama presented two programs for Deferred Action – also known as DACA and DAPA.

Note: Deferred Action –  An individual’s deportation process is delayed

 

What are DACA and DAPA?

DACA (Deferred Action for Children Arrivals)

Under Obama’s proposal, DAPA recipients extended the deferred action and employment period from two to three years.

Requirements:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

DAPA (Deferred Action for Parent Arrivals) 

DAPA was meant to allow parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years. This would keep countless families united throughout the country.

Requirements:

  1. Have lived in the United States continuously since Jan. 1, 2010, up to the present time;
  2. Were physically present in the United States on Nov. 20, 2014, and at the time of making your request for consideration of DAPA with USCIS;
  3. Had no lawful status on Nov. 20, 2014;
  4. Had, on Nov. 20, 2014, a son or daughter, of any age or marital status, who is a U.S. citizen (USC) or lawful permanent resident (LPR); and
  5. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors; do not otherwise pose a threat to national security; and are not an enforcement priority for removal.

With this program, parents and children would have been able to worry less about being separated. They had a chance to finally come out of the shadows and contribute to their communities without worrying about ICE coming after them, at least for a couple of years.

Unfortunately,

in 2015, DAPA was blocked by the Supreme Court without a reasoning.

The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.

Two years later, and now DACA recipients are also running the risk of losing their liberty. Just this month, one DACA recipient and DREAMer  was deported to Mexico. The mistake that led to this unfortunate situation – leaving his wallet in his friend’s car. Montes has since filed a law suit demanding the federal government to release information about his “sudden” deportation.

I cannot even imagine to begin to understand what Montes felt. He was finally accepted and safe. He was proving to be an asset. And in a matter of seconds, all of that was taken from him.

What are your thoughts on this program? Will it make it through this presidency? Was it worth a shot? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s