You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
– John Lennon’s Imagine
We all face uncertainty in our day-to-day lives, usually interwoven with our dreams and plans. “What if my college choice rejects me? Will I make the team? Or get the job? Can I make new friends when I move? And we know that dreams foster hopeful children and youth, leading eventually to satisfying, productive adulthood and a quality of life in our communities. Yet on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 800,000 young people, who came to the United States through no fault or decision of their own, felt a crippling wave of uncertainty crash over them. Their dreams may never come true. Simply remaining in the country that they call home presents uncertainty of enormous proportions.
Last week, the recension of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects immigrants who entered the U.S. undocumented as children, from deportation, was announced. As the executive director of a child and family services agency that directly serves and assists youth who are affected by this repeal, I wish to express my distress and disappointment at the recent announcement. Each and every dreamer came to the United States before they were 16 years old, and 80% came with their family when they were 10 years old or younger.
Rather than viewing Dreamers as a detriment to the well-being of American society, by removing their provisional legal status in six months, we can embrace their presence as a way to make our country stronger, perceiving these young people as the societal assets they are. Most are bilingual, ambitious educationally, and maintain a strong work ethic, all traits that contribute positively to the workforce and benefit the economy. Uncertainty, however, undermines all of their dreams. Dreams of a good life. Dreams of giving back. Dreams of a just society.