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We stand with DACA

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With the attack on DACA recipients’ hopes and rights, we must stand by them

[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]hat does it mean to be an American? Is it about your origin, the patch of land you were born on? We believe it is where we put roots that is what makes us American, not where we were transplanted from.  Our nation is failing these young people, who have

Immigrants to America have a belief in American values, faith in our nation’s free and democratic ideals, and they pursue success through innovation and community contribution: they believe in the American Dream just as much as anyone who was born here!

The 800,000 recipients of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, including at least 150 Bearcats, are students and young people who have been raised in the  United States and were brought illegally to the U.S. as children. The program and its protections were created in 2012, but Trump announced in September of last year that March 5, 2018 would be the last day for the DACA program. Since then, his order has been successfully challenged in court, and the future of DACA recipients is in question. There’s no question, however, that the right thing is to protect these members of our community and welcome them into the fold of the American DREAM.

Many of these students have had their entire formal education in the US. From kindergarten to graduation, these students were at Paso Schools.  Many DACA students have no memory of their country of origin. All of them have rooted themselves in the US: their communities, their lives and their dreams are American.

“My family decided to come here in order to provide a better future for me and my sisters…Mexico is my motherland, but I consider the United States my home,” said PRHS senior Beatriz Lopez, who is one of seven DACA recipients spoke at a Feb. 28 community forum on DACA, said.

Many of our bearcat DACA recipients are top students at PRHS. They are enrolled in AP classes and have been accepted to Universities around the nation. Now, after years of Paso Schools education, DACA bearcats are ready to contribute to the community. How can we deprive members of our Paso Robles community the chance to give back to their home?

Dreamers are not here to kill or rob or even hurt people at all.  We just want to help the community.  We just want a chance to give back to our community,” Olga Lopez said.

Beacrat DREAMers have struggled hard to succeed in the country they call home. They have faced difficulty crossing a language and cultural barrier, and the insecurity of not knowing if they and their family would be safe. Yet Bearcat DREAMers have succeeded despite that.

“I am proud of being a DACA student, even if it means working harder for what I strive for.  And what I’m striving for is an opportunity for an education. The fact that I have to push harder for an education in the only country I know and the one I call home is very sad and demeaning…We are all in search of the pursuit of happiness and right now, I am not giving up on mine,” senior Diana Gonzalez, who is a DACA student, enrolled in AP classes, and a college admit, said.

DACA bearcats exemplify the American Dream. They have overcome adversity through hard work and dedication to succeed. To turn our backs on our fellow members of the community, to allow them to be torn away from their home, would be an incredible failure of the American ideal. As it is written on the statue of liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

“To the other Dreamers at PRHS, don’t be afraid.  Don’t ever stop your efforts. Never give up. Your dreams will come true.  I’m speaking out today because I want to show that I’m not afraid of anything.  I know that everything is possible. I will be successful, “ Olga Lopez said.

 

The future of DREAMers must be addressed by congress, and we call upon Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell and President Trump to protect these members of our community. But we also call on our community to recognize, defend and cherish these members who often have not been recognized. We went to Kindergarten, learned our ABC’s and multiplication with our fellow students who are DREAMers.  They are our friends, our teammates and our club colleagues. We will not abandon them, we stand together. Because that’s the American way, and that’s what Bearcats do.

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