This is part of a series of communications from Scholars in the Global Leaders Program expressing what the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program means to them and their communities. Scholars featured in this series are part of GLP’s new Communications Fellowship, designed to amplify our participants’ voices and share their unique perspectives and experiences.

“What does DACA mean to me and my community?”

Darlene, GLP ’18

September 5th was supposed to represent the beginning of the school year, and for many Chicago students, another year in their educational career towards college. More than 380,000 CPS students attended class. But, unfortunately, on the same day, President Donald Trump ended the program DACA, thus ending more than 800,000 people’s source of protection and hope. This was a disheartening and disappointing action. DACA has helped many people continue to achieve their dream, such as continuing higher education and receiving job preparation.

DACA means the world for many immigrants who have toiled and put their all in reaching the American Dream. Growing up, I have seen how my aunt worked part-time and also attended college. Her resilience, along with the resilience of many other Dreamers, has been inspiring and motivating.

DACA meant not having to worry about deportation if stopped while driving. It meant being able to have a stable career and a job. It meant being able to go to school and study and not have to worry about having to abandon the life you know because DACA meant no deportation. DACA meant being able to trust the government after having been so wary of this country’s government. It was the foundation of no worry and finally feeling supported by your home.

For the past five years, DACA allowed immigrants, who were children when first arriving to the US, to not worry about being deported out of their American home. That was supposed to be the right solution to the Dreamer community, but now their hopes and dreams are replaced by fear. The hardest part about this situation is trying to dispel fears and promote a supportive atmosphere. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that we, the city of Chicago and the CPS community, are there to listen to the concerns that dreamers have and do our part to continuously make our schools and our city a safe place for dreamers. Undocumented students deserve to be protected in schools and their homes. DACA has changed their lives and now their life and presence in their own home is being challenged. The Chicago community needs to petition the government, since the termination of DACA has given rise to more issues and questions. DACA meant an opportunity for the undocumented to continue their life in the US and a way for them to excel at what they wished. These are people, with real stories and real lives, who seriously impact our country in unimaginable and incredible ways. This is their home, and DACA, their hope, should be defended.

-Darlene, GLP Scholar ’18

Scholar Stories – What does DACA mean to me and my community?