The Trump Administration announced Tuesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program will be phased out and most likely terminated by March 5, 2018. This decision has been met with outrage from several congressmen and politicians. President Donald Trump is expected to replace DACA with a program that focuses on strengthening the callous methods of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Journalists and the general public have strongly disagreed with Trump’s decision as well, with protests ongoing throughout New York and other metropolitan cities. Some news outlets, however, have weighed in on the DACA decision by detailing the amount of money the economy would lose if efforts to deport all undocumented youth were successful. While these details are crucial facts that all supporters of this announcement should consider, the focus should be more humanitarian: on the lives of the children.
The majority of DACA recipients are students. One of the predominant goals of the DACA program is allowing recipients a pathway to education. Students are receiving opportunities that most could only dream of back in their home countries, all while improving the commonwealth of their U.S. schools as well. In fact, more than 640 universities have signed a letter of support for DACA, praising the talent and community that DACA students bring to their respective campuses. All of this indicates that most NYU students may very well be sitting next to DACA recipients in their classrooms or seeing them on campus — students who are vigilantly working toward the same goal as the rest of NYU’s student body: getting a degree.
It is irresponsible to consider DACA recipients as statistics. Trump’s decision has already affected the lives of thousands, such as one study abroad student who chose to return to the United States before the end of his semester, for fear of being unable to re-enter the only country he has ever considered home. The negative consequences of this announcement are endless: many people could lose state-sponsored health coverage, their driver’s licenses or even their professional credentials. Each and every one of these statistics stands for something greater. The deportation of even one student means fear and heartbreak unlike any other for an entire family and community.
DACA recipients may be your classmates, doctors, neighbors or friends. The common factor is that they are all human. It is vital that Americans remember this quality above any other when weighing in on Trump’s controversial decision. To strip undocumented children of this program is to strip them of their humanity, and to ignore the issue is blatant support of the cruel actions Trump’s administration has brought against these bright, courageous children.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 11 print edition. Email Melanie Pineda [email protected]