Editorial: Ten years of limbo. DACA recipients need permanent relief now
A year ago, a group of people who grew up in DACA recipients’ home communities were shocked to learn their futures were about to become uncertain.
They all came of age when it was considered perfectly reasonable not to learn the last name of the person you were legally married to. It was perfectly okay to not even know the birth date of a child.
The moment they learned they were legally married to people who had been born and raised in their homelands — children they still refer to today as “cousins” — was when those families knew there was no turning back. Their lives would forever be defined by “anchor babies,” the term for a child born a U.S. citizen that is brought to the country by a parent already legally in the country.
In November 2010, the news broke that the Obama Administration had decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA, which made it easier for undocumented people to obtain permission to stay in the country. The announcement shook immigrant families to their core.
The next few days were like a funeral procession. People gathered on the street, on their front lawns, in their homes, in their cars. They cried out to anyone who would listen: “I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe they decided to end DACA! We can’t be taken away from everything that we’ve built!”
It’s been more than a year since then, and the families have mostly been able to process the shock and grief so that they can now move forward.
They still get sick at night and wake up with a lump in their throats. They still think about how it may have been their own fault, how they’ve let this happen to themselves, to their families and to their country.
They are still living in an “if-you’ll-just-look-out-for-the-guys-with-legs” mentality, in which they fear a deportation if something happens to their children or someone they love gets sick.
However, they are also getting