by Rebecca Rojas
Recently, there has been much talk about Mitt Romney’s statement that while he would honor the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program initiated by President Obama, he would not continue it. This has created unrest among potential applicants, but I think it is still too early to give up on the DACA program. As the program progresses, and as we begin to see the benefits it brings, I believe that it will continue in place until a more permanent solution can be implemented.
The benefits of the DACA program are particularly evident in a recent conversation I had with a small town business owner. This business owner had come to talk to me to see what he could do about “Pablo.” The man looked almost apologetic as he explained to me that while he had favored limiting immigration, he wanted to help Pablo. Pablo, he explained to me, had been brought here as a small child and, upon high school graduation, had begun to help him in his business. Pablo has now become my right hand man, he told me. He knows everything there is to know about my business, he’s the hardest worker I have, and I trust him with my life.
He was stunned when I explained to him that without deferred action there was no way for him or for his business to help Pablo to stay in the United States.
As I explained to him how Pablo would be able to benefit from the new DACA program, he began to see the hope that it gives to young people, who like Pablo, grew up in the United States, spoke English primarily, but under our current laws could not do anything about their immigration status. At the end of our meeting, he confessed to me that he thought the new program was a sensible solution.
I tell this story as a reminder that it is difficult to pre-judge a program before seeing how it works. Thus, I think that as more individuals become aware of the benefits of the program, they will welcome its continued existence.
Because of this, I continue to encourage those who have not yet applied for the program to do so and to take advantage of the benefits it brings.