The Whittier Miscellany

Opinion Piece on Daca – Dreamers Deserve Freedom

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"America Runs on Immigrants"

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"America Runs on Immigrants"

Abby Kleman, Editor in Chief

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In June of 2012, former American President Barack Obama established an immigration policy titled “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” This policy ensured that children who came to the United States illegally would be able to stay in the country to work and gain their freedom. In September of 2017, current American President Donald Trump revoked this policy, leaving 800,000 child immigrants in danger of being deported. These immigrants, otherwise known as Dreamers, had made this journey with their families to escape violence, oppression, and inequality. They aspired to find work and integrate into a culture founded on principles of liberty, justice, and equality.  

    Now our president wants to send them back to a place they have never known. We, the citizens of the United States who represent the American dream, must fight for the Dreamers to have equal opportunity.  While the United States is currently in a state of significant political divide, it is crucial that we Americans try to understand one another’s opinions and views. We must learn to coexist with each other in order to reach a progressive outcome. In the case regarding DACA, we must demonstrate that Dreamers are human beings who deserve a chance to live in, and contribute to our society.

    How does America embody freedom when our current leader does not support the freedoms of childhood immigrants? In the summer of 2016, I took a trip to El Paso, Texas with some of my classmates. We stayed in a house with immigrants of all ages who were seeking asylum. During the week, we immersed ourselves in the Spanish culture and integrated with the house’s inhabitants. We cooked, cleaned, ate, and played with our  housemates in order to better understand their daily lives. At the end of the day, no matter their citizenship status, the immigrants who shared their house with us are human beings whose parents wanted freedom for them, and who now want freedom for themselves and their children. Even though these individuals  have not had the easiest lives, they were thankful for our help and for the asylum they originally sought.

    While we participated in an incredulous amount of tear-jerking experiences, such as an emotional court case and a personal story from a new mother, we also shed many happy tears. My favorite part was undoubtedly the informal concert that we attended with the “Abuelas” (Grandmothers) of the house. We all danced, sang, and laughed together. Nobody thought about the color of our skin or where we came from. In that moment, nothing mattered except unity. This trip truly provided an eye-opening perspective that peaceful coexistence is the answer to oppression and equality, especially for minors who came to the United States with their families.

    Now, the Dreamers of America will soon be thrown into the vast unknown purely out of hate and ignorance. When President Trump revoked the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted on September 5th, 2017, “Brought by parents, these children had no choice in coming here. Now they’ll be sent to countries they’ve never known. Cruel. Not America.” We must remember that the Dreamers did not choose to come to America; they have no other home. Biden emphasizes these two key points, as he suggests that Trump’s revocation of DACA is “Not America.” This further begs the question: “What is America?”

    When I was a sophomore, I remember learning about how the United States is a “melting pot.” The online definition of the figurative term “melting pot” is, “A place where different people or different cultures all come together and begin to merge and mix.” America is an example of a melting pot where immigrants and people from all over the world visit, live, and share thoughts and ideas to create a new united culture.

    Now, I do not believe that the United States is a melting pot. I do not believe that the United States embodies acceptance. I do not believe that the United States truly manifests the idea that “all men are created equal.” However, I do believe that we have the ability to change the status of our country, a country that supposedly symbolizes freedom and justice for all. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” If we truly wish for America to live up to its melting pot status, then we must spark the change. We must band together to show that the Dreamers deserve to stay in the United States; they deserve to stay in their home. Over time, I have learned that simple gestures go a long way. One of the most important things that you can do is read the news and educate yourself about current events; once you create your stance on an issue, then you can take initiative. E-mail your State Senator, your Governor, or even the President himself. Also, peaceful protests and marches are sparks which can ignite the flames of change. In Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, “Nonviolence: The Only Road to Freedom,” he powerfully stated, “I am convinced that for practical as well as moral reasons, nonviolence offers the only road to freedom for my people.” King was an advocate for peaceful protest, and I believe that we can still benefit from his advice in 2017.

    In the Women’s March of 2017, between 440,000 and 500,000 people in Washington, D.C. participated in this peaceful demonstration for important causes, such as women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigration reform. An estimated amount of 5 million people marched worldwide. When individuals come together to peacefully fight for human rights, they educate others about significant causes, and they allow people to hear their voices and feel their energy. Your voice can be heard too; join a peaceful march or organize one with people who want to share your same message. Power truly lies within the people, and when enough people come together to fight for change, bonds are formed and hope is born.

    I am thrilled that QUEST has decided to take another trip to El Paso, Texas this upcoming summer. Donald Moron ’94, upper school history teacher, reflected, “QUEST has made the decision to travel to El Paso again as we continue see the southern border as central to both American politics and national security. The WFS students that travel to the border this summer will understand the challenges of international boundaries in a way that can only be experienced first-hand. We are excited to partner with the World Leadership School again this year.” I hope that the people who embark on this journey will see the world in a new light. I hope that they will see why the Dreamers were given this name in the first place. Above all, I know that they will spark change. You can too.

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Opinion Piece on Daca – Dreamers Deserve Freedom