On Monday night UConn students gathered at a rally to support “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who now face the looming threat of deportation after President Trump’s ending of the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program first implemented under President Obama. The program allowed those who came to the United States as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and be eligible for a work permit. To be eligible for the program, participants must meet several requirements, including being enrolled in/having graduated from high school, and not being convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor.
There are currently around 800,000 people who benefit from the program, a number which includes those currently studying at UConn. Multiple students spoke out at the rally about how DACA has changed their lives. One student talked about how the program allowed him to hold a job and drive down the street without the fear of getting pulled over and deported, while others talked about how DACA gave them the courage to come out of the shadows.
In the face of adversity, both students and staff alike have rallied together behind Dreamers. UConn Dean of Students Elly Daugherty spoke at the event to assure Dreamers of the university support, while President Herbst issued a letter expressing similar sentiments. The Undergraduate Student Government Executive Board issued a statement affirming they stood in solidarity with Dreamers and would do what they can for them. It is inspiring to know that so many groups and individuals are working together to support these students. This is not something they should have to deal with alone, and sometimes it makes all the difference when someone is fighting beside you.
It is easy to criticize and call for the deportation of a faceless group that comes to our country and takes our jobs. It is much harder to do the same when people that belong to that group are your peers and friends that you see every day and whose only “fault” is being born in a different geographic location and having parents that wanted to provide greater opportunities for them. Students should continue to support Dreamers during these trying times and remind them that they’re not alone, and they’re not unwanted.