Dreamers and DACA

In 2012 President Barack Obama Signed the DACA Bill into legislation. It was designed as a temporary solution to the problems facing a segment of our population known as “Dreamers”. Dreamers are children of illegal immigrants who entered the United States before their sixteenth birthdays. DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) gives 1.5 million individuals who entered the country illegally through no fault of their own, a way to avoid deportation and the opportunity to apply for a work permit. This program was presented as a first step for the Dreamers to take toward citizenship. 

Here is a look at the DACA program through the eyes of a Dreamer:

My parents arrived in the United States legally with my sister and I, with ages 1 and 3. My parents overstayed their tourist visas. They found jobs, established a home and 2 more children were added to our family. When I was in middle school and searching for my grades online I was required to enter my social security number. I asked my mom what it was and she told me I didn’t have one. I replied with, “What do you mean I don’t have one”. Up to that point I planned to go to college and have a normal life. I felt like I had no future because of limitations that could’ve brought me. When my dad couldn’t renew his driver’s license I became aware of my family’s problem regarding citizenship. I did not feel welcomed here in America. 

I attended school, got good grades, and in 2012 President Obama created the DACA program. When I turned 16 I was able to apply for a work permit as part of the DACA program. That permit is good for 2 years and costs $500 every 2 years for renewal. I mail my documents and money and wait for a biometrics appointment which consists of photographing and fingerprinting. The documents I send are up to 30 pages and require me to give information on my residential status, job, income, and income tax fillings. 

I have graduated highschool and am working and filing my federal income tax return. My parents do not have social securities but use their ITIN to file. (An ITIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a Social Security Number (SSN).) 

Our family of 6 has passports issued by the consulate in Houston, making us citizens of our South American country. This enables us to travel outside of the United States but we are unable to come back in. They work and pay taxes here but do not have driver licenses or social security numbers. That prevents them from traveling out of the country, bank loans, life insurance, and can’t participate in elections. We speak english, follow all the rules but still feel like outsiders. Politicians talk about a path to citizenship. My dream of a secure and brighter future could become a reality.

Anonymously contributed by a Dreamer

We thank our anonymous contributor to help us better understand our neighbors. We thank everyone who has taken time to read this article, which explains clearly so many of us had previously not understood.

Nancy Ghirla

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