Deserving. Worthy. Birthright. Privilege. How do we become who we are and how is it decided where we will go? Do we have the right to determine the course of another’s life and the value that is placed on it? Do we, as Americans, have a responsibility to protect those who desire what our ancestors came for? Do we have a responsibility to the DREAMers? A responsibility to uphold and encourage the American dream? Considering recent events to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, D.A.C.A, these questions have presented themselves. Negative rhetoric surrounds immigration, categorizing those who come to this country without documentation in a demonizing and threatening manner. The intention of this article is to raise questions and challenge the reader to consider a change in the conversation and action regarding immigrants and immigration reform. The intention is to urge civilian action on behalf of the DREAMers.
Some argue against the worth and dignity of D.A.C.A recipients, believing that it is not the responsibility of American citizens to support and defend those who were brought into the United States as children without documentation. Perhaps the lack of feeling responsible comes from fear and misconceptions, stereotypes about immigration and immigrants that have been perpetuated throughout society. Without a “birthright” to be in the United States, many believe that regardless of age or contribution to society, those who come into the United States without documentation have no right to the opportunities that America offers. But where would these people be without those who immigrated long before them, often without the types of documentation needed today?
The responsibility to act is intensified through the knowledge and the freedom to do so but also through the power and privilege to be heard. As an American citizen, I have the knowledge that those who qualify for D.A.C.A are hardworking individuals who positively contribute to the economy and society overall.
As a Christian, I believe that we are to welcome the stranger, protect those who are persecuted,and treat each person with dignity and grace. With this knowledge, I have the freedom, privilege and power to advocate for a permanent solution for D.A.C.A recipients through our congressional legislative process. I believe that I have a responsibility to act as an American citizen, to extend to others what has been given to me, by no work of my own but by the immigration of my ancestors, to those who have worked and fought for the American dream.
This article is a call to action for DREAMers. Engage in dialogue with professors and fellow students, decide for yourself how you want your voice to be remembered. Research what D.A.C.A is and how it has affected recipients and the United States economy. Better understand the DREAM Act and all it stands for. Don’t just have an opinion but act on it. Once your position has been decided, reach out to your Michigan representatives through phone conversations or letters. Change the conversation surrounding immigrants in the United States.
Find your Michigan representatives and senators here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/MI#senators