Home (not so) sweet home

Immigration process is due for reform.


Asha Khanna, Editor-in-Chief

My biggest worry the two weeks before Senior Year began was cramming in my summer reading. My dad’s — just over 30 years ago — was immigrating to America.

A year prior to moving, his parents, brother and he filed their immigration request forms, adding their names to the infinitely long waiting list of hopefuls trying to enter the United States. They spent that year anxiously awaiting an approval letter.

My mom immigrated in half the time on a student visa, but she had to wait another six months before getting a green card, allowing her to live and work here, and another five years before she was eligible for citizenship.

Both my parents and their families immigrated legally because they were fortunate enough to be able to go through the lengthy process while living in a safe place, not having to flee an active war zone or constant threats of danger. They were able to prepare for the naturalization test and pay the fees to become a citizen because they had the time and resources.

But not everyone is that lucky.

Just over 11 million undocumented immigrants were living in the United States in 2014, according to Pew Research Center. About 1.7 million of them were minors.

That same year brought a hope to those minors through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, implemented to protect individuals who immigrated to the United States illegally as minors. This offered a temporary solution, but gave many people peace of mind.

Under the Obama Administration, DACA recipients, also called Dreamers, became eligible for work permits and received a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. President Trump announced his plan to rescind the legislation early September, and offered Congress six months to come up with a replacement.

Many of these Dreamers came to the United States to escape poverty, violence and threats to their lives. They pay taxes, have jobs and are in many ways “American.”

Instead of taking away the hope that DACA fostered for hundreds of thousands of youth, we need to advocate to reform the current exhaustive immigration process that is preventing legal immigration. If DACA is repealed, Dreamers, who have already been living in America for years, must be offered a path to citizenship, one that is far less extensive than the current process.

These Dreamers deserve a chance to fulfill their own “American Dream” just as much as my parents did 30 years ago.