Courtesy of Pax Ahimsa Gethen via WikimediaCommons under CC BY-SA 4.0

In an unsurprising turn of events, on Oct. 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit voted to uphold a 2021 ruling that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is illegal. While the program is still ongoing despite this ruling, it creates new fear for the Dreamers who arrived in this country as children and have never truly been accepted or protected by the government. It is unjust for our government to string them along and deny them this right of citizenship while those who want them gone continue to push back on their presence here. 

DACA recipients and Dreamers are in all ways, except legally, considered citizens. Most arrived in the U.S. as children and have only known of their lives here. Although these people are now contributing members of society who work, pay taxes and have obtained an education here, they are still not granted full citizenship status or allowed the same privileges as someone who is. Except for in a few provinces, like San Francisco, DACA recipients are unable to vote in elections giving them no representation in our government. This group is not even permitted to leave the country for travel and yet they are still seen as outsiders that do not belong. 

Many legal Americans see DACA and Dreamers as people who are taking away jobs and resources from themselves. Many believe that they are simply living off of the government and consider them undesirable citizens; this statement is far from the truth. This idea is the product of white nationalism and xenophobia being used to wage a war on people of color, women and any underserved community. The Republican Party has fueled their recent legislation on this notion of hate while the Democratic Party is failing another group that needs their support to survive. Democrats and Biden are only putting up a facade that they care and will help, but DACA recipients have been waiting for them their whole lives to provide them some sense of tranquility.  

Ultimately, the pathway to citizenship in the U.S. is purposely made to confuse and appear unattainable with some people going through the process for more than ten years. It is inaccessible and takes time and knowledge that is complicated even for someone whose primary language is English. Better aid is needed to protect and assist this group of people from being deported and sent to a country where they may have no connections. 

Following this ruling from the court, California colleges, including the University of California, released a statement that they would protect students and staff that are part of the undocumented community. This declaration of support is a step in the right direction but more guidance from these colleges is necessary to help this community feel protected and heard. Furthermore, other states and colleges may not be as accepting and will continue to turn a blind eye to this group signifying that real change needs to occur. 

The U.S. is a country that was created by immigrants through the unjust displacement and killing of Native Americans who previously resided here. White Americans and nationalists do not have a claim to the land and should not be so against those who arrived here to also obtain the now far fetched American Dream like their families did generations ago. Reform in the House of Representatives is needed to create more diversity in our government so that programs like this one are protected and not overturned. The DACA recipients and Dreamers deserve to be respected and finally become full citizens of our country.