Once more young people are leading the way during this waiting time for a comprehensive immigration reform.
Even though most Dreamers were celebrating the one year anniversary of President Obama's deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) initiative, both DACA recipients and pro-reform supporters have escalated activities throughout the country in order to call on House Representatives to bring a vote on the Reform that includes a path to citizenship when Congress reconvenes on September 9.
About 400,000 young people have benefited from the DACA program, but their parents, grandparents and other relatives continue to be exposed to deportation.
Receiving deferred action has been a relief for those who now are able to have a driver's license, social security number and the possibility to legally hold a job. They hope that after one more year, they will be allowed to continue working and studying in the country. Above all, they hope for a comprehensive reform that will allow them to have a legal residence and a path to citizenship. They also hope that such an opportunity is open to 11 million people who expect a comprehensive Immigration Reform.
One of the ways DACA recipients chose to celebrate their anniversary was to deliver half a cake to their legislator’s office. Thus reminding them that DACA was a partial solution and they expect to see a whole response for everyone. Locally, on August 15, half a cake was delivered to Rep. Walorski's office and later on the day a flash mob was staged at University Park Mall in Mishawaka. Similar actions took place in Arizona, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, and Washington D.C.
Seasoned advocates and leaders have opened doors and supported this effort. But it has been the courage of the young people that has given renewed impulse and energy to the movement.
The success of the initiative can be measured by the stories of the more than 400,000 people whose applications have been approved and who can live without the fear of deportation while continuing their education and contributions to their communities.
"According to a report by sociologists Roberto Gonzales and Veronica Terriquez based on the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP), young adult DACA recipients experienced a marked increase in opportunities for economic and social incorporation. Drawing on the most comprehensive survey of DACA recipients to date, the study shows that after being granted DACA, 61% of recipients were able to obtain a new job, 54% opened a bank account, 61% obtained a driver’s license, and 38% got their first credit card. These achievements indicate that even a temporary regularization of status can have a tremendous impact on the economic and social incorporation of immigrants. The findings also support the well-established notion that undocumented status blocks immigrants’ potential for integration, hindering their productivity, mobility, mental health, and capacity to fully contribute as members of society. "
The evidence shows that given the opportunity immigrants can become quickly incorporated into society in general, if a permanent solution is offered to their families. They will also become grateful and fruitful members of the United States.
With their courage and actions young people are showing us all that "Si se puede!"
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