September 11, 2017

Are the hopes of 800,000 DREAMers set to become nightmares?

Thousands of undocumented youth in the US wrestle with possibility of being forced to leave the only home they've ever known.

US President Donald Trump said he’d treat young undocumented immigrants “with heart”. But the government's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme has many of its recipients looking for the compassion he once promised.

After years of failed attempts to reform immigration in Congress, the Barack Obama administration launched DACA in June 2012. In addition to receiving a renewable, two-year deferment on deportation, DACA provided children brought illegally to the United States with the means necessary to legally live, study, and work in the country. The initiative gave countless undocumented youth, known as “Dreamers”, an opportunity to come out of the shadows.

“It pulled us into American society", said DACA recipient Sadhana Singh. “We were there all along — but we couldn’t participate.”

From the military to the economy, DACA recipients contribute much to the United States. By rescinding the programme, Dreamers say they will be punished for decisions that were made beyond their control. In a statement released on Tuesday, however, President Trump said America is a “nation of opportunity because [it] is a nation of laws”. Congress now has six months to find a legislative solution for the programme’s approximately 800,000 beneficiaries, leaving them to wonder whether they’ll have to return to the shadows or be forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known.

In this episode, The Stream hosts a panel of Dreamers to hear their stories, and to learn more about what they’re doing to ensure their hopes of prosperity in the US continue on.

On this episode of The Stream, we'll speak to:

Sadhana Singh @sadh_singh
DACA recipient

Megan Essaheb @meganessaheb
Director of Immigrant Rights, Advancing Justice

Catalina Velasquez @ConsultCatalina
DACA recipient

Raymond Partolan @Raymondpart
DACA recipient

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