Students show support for Dreamers

Parker Loizon, Reporter

Photo by David Olsen.
Gianna Angelo, freshman social work major, writes a postcard supporting DACA.

Earlier this month, President Trump announced that his administration would be putting an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA).

“DACA was an executive action by the Obama Administration that temporarily halted the deportation of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday,” said Justin Delacour, a political science professor at the university. “People who immigrated to the United States as minors should be given a chance to live fulfilling lives in the country in which they had become accustomed to living, working and going to school.”

Under this executive action, driver’s licenses, college enrollment and work permits could be applied for without the threat of deportation. Those who received protection under DACA are called “Dreamers,” a name that comes from a former, unsuccessful piece of legislation known as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (or DREAM) act.

Delacour said that DACA could affect university students around the country, including the many Lewis students that are DACA recipients. With its potential phase-out, former DACA recipients may become subject to deportation.

In a recent statement, Lewis University President Dr. David Livingston voiced his disappointment in Trump’s decision to rescind DACA.

In the statement, Livingston said that “[Dreamers] add to the Lewis community and to thousands of colleges and universities across the country…They will continue to add great value after they graduate as neighbors, friends and contributing members of our workforce.”

Lewis has already begun work to protect affected students. From Thursday, Sept. 21 through Tuesday, Sept. 26 at noon, multiple university groups came together to sponsor a postcard party in defense of DACA.

This event was held in the Java Detour as well as outside the University Ministry. Students attended to write letters to Illinois Senators Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth pleading with them to defend DACA. It gave students an outlet to voice their opinions concerning this legislation.

“[Dreamers] rely on DACA to stay in the United States,” said Leonard Flores, a senior  double major in computer science and computer engineering. “Many people have to go back to a country that they may not know anything about…parents don’t teach them the language…I just don’t think [repealing DACA] is right.”

Those who criticize DACA and sought its repeal felt it was an overreach from the Obama administration. Some Republicans claimed that this deferred action is illegal and should be phased out.

The Trump administration has tried to strike a deal with congressional Democrats. This prospective agreement would require Republican support for legalizing immigration status for DACA recipients. Democrats would, in turn, have to support an increase in border security.

“Such legislation might permanently relieve DACA recipients of the potential hardships of being subject to deportation and not being eligible to receive work permits,” said Delacour.

Whether DACA remains repealed or a new piece of legislation is passed in its place, the university stands with all of its students.