From 2008 to 2021, the United States southern border apprehended approximately half a million children and teens every year. Children from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, El Salvador and more have fled their countries due to poverty, violence, crime and especially a lack of education. During his presidency, Barack Obama tasked his administration to deepen the cooperation between the United States and foreign countries — aiming to tackle crime, strengthen their economy and reinforce adequate education. Upon taking office, Donald Trump largely limited this international aid and cooperation.
Many of those children who made it across the border have now gone on to an American way of life: working and studying in the United States. Barack Obama’s executive order, DACA, granted many of these children legal, temporary stay that allowed them to pursue careers and educational opportunities that they otherwise would never have obtained. Many of whom study and work at schools like Harvard, Yale and Cornell.
For years, politicians and media correspondents have battled over the moral and legal implications of DACA — claiming it violated the constitution given only Congress can confer the rights and rules of citizenship. This past September, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a decision finding the DACA rule unlawful. But many have also argued that its attempted rescission was equally unethical and unlawful since it sentences hundreds of thousands of workers and students to expulsion from the U.S.
In a legal state of limbo, policy makers also teeter in their rhetoric regarding these individuals. The status of these individuals — especially students — is expected to be returned and litigated in the 5th U.S. circuit of Appeals in 2024, which will then make its way to the Supreme Court.
With many countries facing extreme social and political instability, engaging in violence and armed conflicts, we soon enter a year where the world is at war. Many of these DACA beneficiaries have managed to escape these dangers and have found dreams, aspirations and safety at places like Cornell — a place they call home.
Legislators and commentators have gone in circles debating the issue; dialogue on DACA has become a futile cycle of sorts. DACA may be illegal, and perhaps its recession is too, but Congress must remember that these students, with dreams and aspirations, are not.
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