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It's not a sin to be a Dreamer

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Author Nyla Ali Khan with the OKC chapter of Amnesty International.
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EDMOND, Okla. -- As an academic in the North American academy, I run into those impacted by the Dream Act every semester. This semester, I have a couple of Latin American Dreamers in my courses, which had led to my growing interest in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy aka the Dream Act. 

Is America the “land of opportunity”? Are “rags to riches” stories possible only in America? Or are there too many roadblocks to success?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was an American immigration policy that entitled those Latinos and Hispanics who entered the United States as infants or adolescents, and had either entered or remained in the country without the required documentation, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible to apply and receive a work permit. The Dreamers Act impacted approximately 800, 000 Latinos/ Hispanics as of 2017. This immigration policy was established by the Obama administration in June 2012 and revoked by the Trump administration in September 2017.

The United States Department of Homeland Security out a spanner in the wheel June 16, 2017, and thwarted any attempt to expand DACA. President Trump’s rescission of DACA on September 5, 2017 has yet to be fully implemented in order to give Congress time to draft and establish a viable alternative for those previously under the purview of the Dreamers Act.

Earlier today, I met with the Legislative Coordinator, John T. Walters, and the Chair, Rena Guay, of Amnesty USA/ OKC who met with several congressional representatives to “urge Congress to pass a clean Dream Act that would provide immigration relief for the broadest population of undocumented people who entered the U. S. as children, and would confer permanent residency and a pathway to U. S. citizenship for all Dreamers.”

The rescission of DACA would increase the vulnerability of those Central American infants, adolescents, and families that seek immigration to the United States for refuge from brutal human trafficking networks, which dehumanize and brutalize them. In order to reinforce our moral obligation to prevent the ghastly human rights violations that would follow closely on the heels of the revocation of DACA, Amnesty International USA/ OKC made visits to the offices of Congressman Russell, Senator Inhofe, and Senator Lankford.

Serena Blaiz observed that the young people who are in the United States under DACA are contributing to our state, society, and communities, which is why it’s appalling to see the trauma that they are having to go through because of the uncertainty surrounding this immigration policy. Victor Gorin, member of Amnesty International USA/ OKC contended, “The current status of the people on DACA leaves them in a state of limbo, without certainty for their future and their families.” It would serve us well to remember that the Latinos/ Hispanics who came to this country as minors identify as Americans and have a firm conviction in the values that the founding father of the United States built this country upon.

To make my concept of the possible repercussions of the revocation of DACA, I met with a young Dreamer, Victor Acosta, who successfully graduated with a degree in Graphic Design in 2014. Victor is an accomplished and ambitious person, whose sense of service has led to him being honored at the 2017 Human Rights Award in the House Chamber of the Oklahoma Capitol. Victor came to this country as an adolescent and was motivated by his family to overcame several barriers, linguistic, cultural, and economic in order to forge ahead with panache. He witnessed his parents’ struggle in the land of opportunity and would be devastated if he is separated from them.

We still have a lot of work to do in order to repair schisms. Democracy does not limit itself to numbers or majoritarian rule, but to substance. There is no room for the subjection of racial/ ethnic minorities to a centralized and authoritarian state in a democratic nation. Self-promotion in the name of democracy, which is a given in autocratic and oligarchic forms of government, must be strongly discouraged by constitutional means and methods. As Amnesty International USA points out, “A clean Dream Act would confer permanent residency and a pathway to U. S. citizenship for all Dreamers.” We live on hope and Dreams, because it's not a sin to be a Dreamer!

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About the Author

Nyla Ali Khan

Nyla Ali Khan is the author of Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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