Richland students who reside in the United States legally under the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are anxiously awaiting word from the White House as to whether the program will continue These students and an estimated 800,000 others like them refer to themselves as “dreamers.”
In an interview on KDUX Web Radio, one such dreamer, Stephanie Vazquez, (a Richland student) indicated that she is worried about the elimination of DACA, which has allowed her to work and pay for her education.
“If DACA were to get removed I wouldn’t be able to pay for my classes next semester,” said Vasquez. “I would lose my job. I would feel a little hopeless.”
Vasquez, who has been in the U. S. since she was age 2, considers herself to beMexican-American,
“I pride myself in being Mexican and being part of Mexican culture. I also feel I am part of America because I live here; I was raised here. I feel a little attacked just because I was born in a different place.” she said.
Vasquez finds Richland to be very welcoming.
“It feels like a safe place for people whose first language is not English. No one here judges. Everyone here that I’ve met has been accepting,” said Vasquez.
On June 29, Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened a lawsuit to eliminate DACA if the secretary of Homeland Security does not eliminate the program by Sept. 5. That deadline is today. There have been many reports that President Trump will either direct the elimination of DACA or simply not challenge the forthcoming lawsuit by Paxton. Vazquez reacted, “I couldn’t believe it. DACA doesn’t harm anyone.”
Former President Barack Obama took executive action to create what’s known as the DACA program on June 14, 2012. In rsponse to the failure of Congress to pass the so-called Dream Act., Obama said, “It makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans.”
In 2014, Obama attempted to expand the program under the name DAPA to include parents of children born in the United States. DAPA was overturned by the courts.
All this adds up to trouble for the estimated 800,000 recipients of DACA, who can, at least temporarily study and work legally in the United States. The issue hits home for many Richland students, like Vazquez, who have benefited from DACA.
The Office of Student Life and the Richland Student Government Association are hosting a Town Hall Meeting, “Know your Rights!” at noon, Sept. 12, in Crockett Hall, Room C140.
The full interview with Vazquez is available at RichlandStudentMedia.com/podcast.
This article is the first in a series.