Despite feeling ‘defrauded’ by the end of DACA, Dreamers refuse to return to their country of origin
Esmeralda Fabián Romero | September 14, 2017
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for the LA School Report newsletter.
DACA youth were “defrauded” by the government and were victims of their own success, a panel of experts, including DACA recipients, concluded at one of the workshops for journalists at the conference “EWA: Journalism for Latinos in Education in the Trump Era” on Monday in Anaheim.
The elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), announced by the Trump administration last week, was called a “fraud” by the panelists.
“They really made a pact with the devil,” said Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, dean of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSEIS) before a dozen educational journalists, members of the Education Writers Association (EWA) . “They trusted that (the DACA program) was a sacred pact and turned out to be cruelly violated by President Trump,” he said.
Suárez-Orozco defined the current situation for the “Dreamers” as a “psychopathic impact” in which young DACA beneficiaries are experiencing a high degree of anxiety and depression as they feel betrayed by the government. “It was a horrible act, they played with them, giving them something they took away so easily. That for me is a fraud,” said the dean.
Julian Lucas and Maria Kuripet, two DACA recipients, were part of the panel, in which they first clarified that they do not like being identified as “Dreamers” . “In any case we are fighters, that’s what we have been doing since we got here,” said Lucas.
Both expressed that they are determined to remain fighting to stay in this country, in spite of the anxiety and the disappointment by the end of DACA and the uncertainty of its current situation.
“I have fought since I arrived in this country and that is what I will continue to do. I will continue my graduate education. My plans do not change, “said Lucas, a graduate of Belmont High School in the Los Angeles area who recently earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California Berkeley.
According to a study presented at workshop, created by the UCLA’s UndocuScholars project, among UCLA undergraduate students, almost 53 percent of DACA recipients aspire to go to graduate school, compared with only 36 percent of those identified as non- -DACA recipients.
Lucas came from Veracruz, Mexico to this country at the age of 8 and was educated in public schools of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
“I remember perfectly how I got here with my sisters. It is an experience I could never forget because it was terrible. But I knew it was worth it because we were going to school, we were having an education and food at the table,” he recalled. He said he is not considering returning to Mexico.
“I simply do not think that Mexico is the country where I want to go and work because I know very little about it. I do not know the community. The only community I know is here. Mexico is not an option for me,” Lucas said.
According to a report by The Civil Rights Project at UCLA, more than 400,000 children and young people born in the United States have had no choice and have returned to Mexico with their parents , who either decided to return voluntarily or were deported, and are now enrolled in schools there,
Kuripet said that although he values Mexico as his country of origin, she does not consider the possibility of continuing her life there.
“I love my culture, but I love my country. The United States is my country, the only one I know. I do not speak or write Spanish well. English is my language. This is my home. I want to stay here, “said the young woman born in Oaxaca and brought here by her parents at the age of 18 months.
Kuripet has no memory of Mexico. She has been told that his father did not have a job when they decided to emigrate to the United States.
“When they announced that DACA would be over, I cried a lot because I felt that my wings were cut off. I thought that the feeling of living in the shadows it was already in my past, and now going back to the same is very scary. I ask the community not to leave us alone, please! We do not want to live like this, ” she said crying as she addressed the panel.
During the workshop, it was also discussed whether the success of the “DACA Dreamers” became their own enemy, and even a sense of racism against them.
“The DACA youth has changed the idea of the poor undocumented immigrant,” said Ana Miriam Barragán, Dreamers Coordinator at the University of California Irvine (UCI). “They are successful and they’re breaking paradigms, some don’t like that”.
“I believe there has been some racism in many people that do not believe that the DACA, the immigrants, deserve to earn a place in the best universities, to have a good job, same or even better than those born here” said Kuripet. “After the presidential election came the real racist colors of some people.”
Lucas noted that despite the hurdles imposed before and after the DACA for the undocumented, this is not the end for them. “We will continue to fight, pressing Congress for a permanent solution and this does not end here,” he said.
On Wednesday, Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi announced they are moving closer to a deal with President Trump that would protect hundreds of thousands of DACA “Dreamers” from deportation.
“What’s reported is that Pelosi and Schumer had a dinner conversation with President Trump. Leaders of both parties have been having dinner conversations with presidents for nearly 20 years and we still have not moved on immigration reform,” said Jorge Mario Cabrera, spokesperson for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA).
“We have been very clear that we will support a DREAM Act without further enforcement measures. We will continue to press for a permanent solution to protect young immigrants and their families, one such measure being a clean DREAM Act, until words become reality in the form of a vote and President Trump’s signature,” he said in a statement.