In the past month, the word DACA has been repeated myriad times in newspaper articles, television broadcasts, presidential tweets and on the Senate and House floors in the nation’s capitol.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) in reality addresses those best known as Dreamers, the name given to those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children and were protected from the threat of deportation under DACA.
DACA is now under siege by the federal government and President Donald Trump who has pledged support for Dreamers as long as a plan to do so includes tighter measures on immigration, including funding for his border wall and other border security measures.
The White House released the president’s framework for an immigration deal last month. The proposal included $25 billion for the border wall and other border security measures, and would provide a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants.
In Sampson County, however, DACA isn’t couched in political rhetoric and isn’t about nameless, faceless children living in some other part of the country.
Here DACA is young people like Union High School students Lorena Ortega and Narivi Roblero-Escalante, both who were honored last week with the Golden Door Scholarship, which offers them a full academic scholarship to a college or university. Both Union seniors plan to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall thanks to the scholarships they earned.
Ortega and Roblero-Escalante are children of immigrants. Ortega came to America from Mexico with her family when she was 6 years old. Roblero-Escalante found her way to Sampson County via Guatemala. She arrived here with her parents when she was 6 months old.
Both young ladies are very bright and have excelled during their time in Sampson County Schools, the proof of which can be found in the highly competitive Golden Door Scholarship which the pair was awarded.
The scholarship is given to DACA students with high academic achievements. The Union High students are most deserving of the scholarship. What’s more they are shining examples of why DACA offers so much, not just to the Dreamers but to this country which will benefit from their knowledge and, hopefully, their willingness to return some of that which they’ve been given when they have graduated from college and become active members of the work force.
There are many political fights in Washington, but the Dreamers need not be one of them.
All it takes is looking at young people like Ortega and Roblero-Escalante to know that supporting the Dreamers and finding a way to compromise on DACA is the right thing to do.