By MARISA HIRSCHFIELD, age 11
Many undocumented immigrants—people from another country who reside in the United States without the required paperwork—fear deportation. However, in 2014, President Obama proposed a policy called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). DAPA gives undocumented immigrants whose children are American citizens access to Social Security benefits, protection from deportation and work permits for three years. A federal appeals court ruled DAPA unlawful, but Obama appealed, with immense support and pressure from grassroots activists. Now, DAPA is going to the Supreme Court.
DAPA could help 3.7 million people; it would allow undocumented immigrants to travel outside of the United States and, in some states, have access to a driver’s license. In support of DAPA, Hillary Clinton stated, “The millions who are affected can stop living in fear of their families being broken apart.” This comes as federal immigration agents ramp up raids targeting Central American families. In the first week of 2016, at least 121 refugees, including mostly mothers and children, were detained.
Opponents argue that DAPA is unconstitutional because it exceeds Obama’s power, and that providing Social Security and driver’s licenses could cost state governments. Although that is possible, states would actually benefit from increased tax revenue, which could outweigh costs.
Teresa Gutierrez, a Mexican undocumented immigrant, shared with AM New York, “We aren’t just suddenly showing up now, we have a life here. This would let me be me, and stop living in the shadows.” DAPA could give people like Teresa and millions of others a chance to build a life in the United States.
Glossary of Terms:
Deportation: The act of removing a person from a country.