The United States is home to 11.2 million undocumented people, which means that 3.5 percent of our population is living in the shadows. They are our neighbors, they go to school with our kids, but they remain under the radar out of fear that their families will be torn apart.
In 2012, President Obama gave the young and undocumented a sign of hope by enacting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA helps children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents before the age 16. Along with the age requirement, DACA recipients also have to meet a set of standards — such as having no criminal record — to be approved and take full advantage of the program. Since DACA was enacted, 665,000 people have been able come out of the shadows and live somewhat normal lives. They are able to get lawful employment and obtain a driver’s license.
In 2014, President Obama introduced Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and an expansion to DACA which would have helped at least 4.4 million undocumented parents of American citizens and others gain a sense of security. Yet, since its’ proposal, DAPA has received a lot of pushback from the Right.
Both DACA and DAPA were enacted through an executive order by the president, because Congress decided to drag its’ feet on immigration reform. Conservatives see the executive orders as unconstitutional and have put a block on DAPA and DACA expansion, leaving 4.4 million people in immigration limbo.
Now, all eyes are on the Supreme Court as they prepare to rule whether or not the executive order will stand. DAPA will help keep families together.
As it stands now, parents with no criminal record are being taken from their children over simple traffic violations that should only warrant a ticket. Just because a person does not have a number associated with their name, does not make them less of a person. They have families, jobs and lives here in the United States, and 400,000 of those lives are here in Georgia. These people deserve to live with dignity and should not have to continuously look over shoulders fearing that they could be ripped from their families.