We often ask immigrants to “do it the right way.” Individuals with DACA did.
On Sept. 5, President Trump rescinded DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Prior to DACA these individuals had no choice in legalizing their status. These young men and women were brought to the U.S. as children. This is the only country they have ever called home. The first affirmative thing these young men and women could do to help themselves was apply for DACA.
DACA was a program implemented by the Obama administration to give lawful status to individuals who met certain parameters::
— Must have been brought to the U.S. prior to your 16th birthday.
— Must currently be in high school or GED classes, have a high school diploma or GED.
— Must not have one DUI or significant misdemeanor.
— Must have been in the U.S. on various enumerated dates.
DACA did not make them legal permanent residents or give them citizenship. DACA gave a semblance of normalcy to individuals brought to the United States as children. The moment it was implemented hundreds of thousands applied, and approximately 800,000 were granted. Simply put — they did it “the right way.”
Do we really care about “the right way” or is our family’s immigration journey the only “right way?” Let’s not lose our compassion. Let’s ask Congress to act and help these young men and women who truly encapsulate the American Dream.
Lino R. Rodriguez Jr., Duluth
Rodriguez is the second vice chair of the Georgia/Alabama Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.