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OneGoal statement on President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA

 

Chicago, IL (Sept. 6, 2017) – After assuring Dreamers that he would treat them “with heart,” president Trump made the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and single handedly placed 800,000 futures in jeopardy.

At OneGoal, we serve 12,000 students in Chicago, Houston, Massachusetts, Metro Atlanta and New York.   Our students are talented, ambitions and brilliant, but they also face countless obstacles that come with living in a country that has a deep history of racism and inequity.  The hundreds of Dreamers we serve face the additional challenge of living in constant fear that their immigration status will cost them their future.

One of those Dreamers recently shared her experience with our team.  We have chosen to keep her story anonymous merely to limit the exposure.

She was too young to even remember coming to the United States, but was treated as an outsider in the only country she’s ever known because of the color of her skin and her undocumented status. She recalls vividly the moment in high school she realized she didn’t qualify for federal financial aid. Suddenly, her college options were severely limited. Her family struggled financially, so she would have to earn every dollar to cover the cost of college. Through hard work and perseverance, she made it to the University of Illinois at Chicago, and though her experience has been far from easy, she is close to reaching an incredible milestone: college graduation next spring.

She shared that there have been days, after spending 12-15 hours working and at school, she has broken down – feeling as though she can hardly breathe due to the pressure. She shared feeling constantly on edge thinking about the possibility that she can lose everything she’s fought for any minute.

This young woman wants wants one thing: to be defined by her achievements, not her citizenship.

DACA recipients in aggregate have provided an estimated $460.3 billion toward the national GDP. An estimated 97 percent are employed or enrolled in school. They contribute to our communities as students, teachers, co-workers, entrepreneurs, leaders, as neighbors, as friends, and as family members.

In ending DACA, the president chose to penalize individuals who immigrated to the U.S. as children through no volition of their own. The pain of this decision is felt more acutely as our country is still reeling from horrific scenes of violence caused by white supremacists in Charlottesville. Ending DACA now – as thousands are displaced in Texas, dealing with catastrophic devastation – is both shortsighted and cruel.

Today we must raise our voices and send a strong message to our students and to all Dreamers that we will stand alongside them always; that America is their country too. We must also demand that Congress act now.  It has been 30 years since comprehensive immigration reform has been passed, despite multiple attempts.  With the clock ticking on the president’s decision, we cannot afford to let any more time pass. Our stance is simple: protect our students, protect their futures and, in turn, protect America’s future.

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