DACA has recently transformed from its previous subtle existence and wormed its way into the spotlight thanks to a recent decision by President Trump to end it in its entirety. It is a buzzword; working its way into social media, classroom discussion, and dinner-table conversation. The removal of the DACA program has caused an uproar. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was installed by the Obama Administration in 2012. It essentially allowed undocumented immigrants a two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. This program allowed thousands of immigrants an access to a higher education, and now thousands are being affected by its eradication. There is nothing that can silence the voice of the people, so naturally, in a time like this, many people are vocalizing their animosity towards this decision. Petitions have been created and rallies hosted. There are many different ways people, cities, and colleges are handling this.
Since this decision has been made, the National Public Radio Education department spoke with Janet Napolitano, former head of the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, and now the president of the University of California system. Â When asked about how the University of California was going to react, Napolitano had this to say:
“We are going to continue to offer a Dream loan program. [And we] will expand counseling and legal services to students, especially those whose DACA permits are going to expire. In the meantime, the system will do all that it can to reassure these students that their education, financial status, and safety on campus will not be jeopardized.”
More locally, Des Moines is being affected by this decision to phase out the DACA program; many children are enrolled in Des Moines Schools right now. Leaders say, they’re not happy with the decision.
“I think in regard to DACA and the dreamers, we have a lot of work to do,” said Des Moines School Board Chair, Teree Caldwell-Johnson. “I think it starts with boards of education, I think it starts with other elected officials. Being clear not only about their position but articulating that position and being clear about sharing that message no matter where they are.”
On September 5th, around 100 Des Moines protesters gathered outside the Federal Building to demonstrate their support for immigrants. They rallied, gave speeches, and lined up outside to speak to Senator Tony Bisignano about the importance of DACA. Right now, there are 5,000 DACA recipients in Iowa alone. These protesters stood in the hopes of informing the public about the comprehensive immigration reform, and share the importance of young immigrants, and all that they have to contribute to our society.
For those of you who are interested, there will be another protest taking place in Des Moines this Friday the 15th at the Capitol Building starting at 5:30 pm. This is being organized by the Hispanic Immigrants of Iowa, and all are welcome to come and show their support.
Even closer to home, Graceland is doing what it can to help. A petition has been circulating campus, and has already accumulated 200 signatures from students and staff! Keeping in mind the size of our campus population, that is truly remarkable. There was also a rally that took place here in the Shaw Center on Monday, September 11th.
For more ideas regarding the protest of this issue, or in an interest in how you can become more involved, please contact Assistant Professor Tim Robbins or Assistant Professor Adam Martin.