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I want to believe in a country of dreamers

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This is not us.

That’s the hashtag that rattled around Twitter around the time of the Charlottesville mobs.

The thing is, it was us. Those mobs happened. Those slurs were chanted. Those acts of violence were committed. That death occurred.

I know this reality. I know the justification “this is not us” is futile. Yet, as I stared at headlines proclaiming the imminent termination of DACA (Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals), I couldn’t help but hear whispers of “this is not us” in my mind.

Issued in 2012 under the Obama administration via an executive order, DACA allows those who were illegally brought to our country as kids- often referred to as “Dreamers”- to bypass immediate deportation and request “consideration of deferred action.” Certain parameters were set in place in order to make sure this program benefitted only law-abiding kids who truly grew up in America. But in short, DACA has provided normalcy for almost 800,000 undocumented adolescents– the ability to obtain a job, a driver’s license, an education, etc.

But on the morning of the fifth, following a very telling tweet from President Trump, attorney general Jeff Sessions announced Trump’s decision to rescind DACA.

And the murmurs of “this isn’t us” came rumbling through my mind like the introductory thunder of an impending storm.

Because I want to believe in a country that is better than this. I want to believe in a country that overlooks the sins of one’s parents. I want to believe in a country that welcomes those who have never known any other home. I want to believe in a country that lives up to its standards of providing a safe haven and launching pad for those who dare to dream. Dreamers. That’s what these children have been so aptly dubbed. My country doesn’t slam its doors in the faces of dreamers.

However, some opponents of Obama’s executive order had critiques solely for the method in which the program was implemented, as they felt DACA was an overreach of executive power and thought it best to have this type of program legislatively enforced. Though Obama’s decision was one in response to a failure to push DACA through the legislative path, this is an argument that I can accept. Furthermore, Trump’s initial tweet urging Congress to “do [its] job” suggests that DACA could perhaps be preserved through legislative action.

That being said, I hope that DACA will indeed be sustained within the realms of legislative proceedings. As President Obama put it, this is an issue of “basic decency.” These children are no different than any other child who grew up on this land; they have only ever called this country home. It is cruelty in its purest form to shun and persecute children and young adults for the mistakes of their parents. For a few blissful years, these people were gifted peace of mind. To snatch that away and banish them once more into constant fear is senselessly destructive.

I believe in a country that’s better than this. I believe in a country that not only accepts dreamers but roots for them. That is us.

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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central
I want to believe in a country of dreamers