Written by Zack Silvas. Media by Ashley Chaney.
Ever since its inception, DACA has been a light of hope for many undocumented immigrants, giving opportunities for individuals to have a better life. For those who do not know what DACA is, it stands for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It allows undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before June 2007 and before their 16th birthday to receive deferred action and a work permit for two years. You also have to be in high school, a high school graduate, be honorably discharged from the military, or have reached the age of 31 years old before June 2012. Also, you cannot have been convicted of a felony, have any misdemeanors, or be a national security risk (for more FAQs regarding DACA, click here). As of recently though, many DACA recipients have had their lives changed. With the Trump administration deciding to rescind it on Sept 5th, 2017, as many as 800,000 recipients were affected. With not being able to renew, you have many immigrants going back to their “home” countries, meaning that they are going back to a place where they were born but never grew up and never had any familiarity with because of their parent’s choice for a better life. This also leads to families being broken up and having no help in getting back with each other. After months of trying to get DACA reinstated, on Tuesday, Jan 10th 2017, a federal judge had blocked the Trump administration from rescinding DACA. Even after DACA had been restored, families were still searching for help to bring back their loved ones. For many, that help won’t be for some period of time.
So in order for us as a community/campus to get involved with DACA, GU’s very own Michael Gonzalez recently held an event called DACA Power Hour in which he invited people to come gain a deeper awareness and understanding of DACA and all it entails. Gonzalez wanted to have an event last semester to discuss DACA after the Trump administration decided to end it in September, but could not because of time conflicts and commitments. After recent events in the last couple of months, he decided that this was the right time. “I didn’t know what I wanted to start, but I just knew I had to do something,” said Gonzalez. After contacting an organization which deals with DACA and its recipients and looking at their website, he knew that contacting our congressmen and telling them to support DACA was the right move to make. This led to the DACA Power Hour. “One of my main goals was to not change people’s perspectives but to educate people. With some people at GU not knowing what DACA is, or not having a perspective of an undocumented immigrant—to have an event like this in the community can help people educate themselves.”
Another reason Gonzalez chose to hold an event like this was because he knows of someone who has been affected by DACA personally. “I have a cousin that’s a DACA recipient, She’s 21 and going to school right now and also is working, I’ve been in contact with her and talked to her about this idea and [she] was super proud of what I’m doing and she is one of the biggest motivations that I have to shine my light here in Greenville…I feel like if I do something here in Greenville it can be an example for other schools in the nation.” When talking about what GU students can do to help get conversations going on DACA, Gonzalez said that there needs to be more awareness on campus. “It’s one thing to sign a paper and say you’re in favor or support a thing, but it’s another thing to put your words into action and actually do something.” He feels like Greenville needs to take charge of setting examples for other schools so that they can also raise awareness and spur words into action.
It’s one thing to sign a paper and say you’re in favor or support a thing, but it’s another thing to put your words into action and actually do something.”
DACA is still in effect, but with all the crazy things that have happened in the last couple of months, there could be another time where it does get rescinded. We as a community need to voice our thoughts and fight for those who may not have a voice in order for DACA to stay for the long run, and use resources to support them.