Today, the Department of Homeland Security is slated to stop accepting renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Across the country, many young people like me are scrambling to come up with attorney fees and the $495 we need to re-apply and then to get paperwork filed on time.
I pray someday I won’t have to go through this process. I believe in my heart I’m an American. I’ve been here for 17 years. I graduated from a high school in Oklahoma, and I'm pursuing a career as a doctor. All the memories I have made are from this great country.
I’m not an American on paper, however, and with DACA ending Congress must pass a bill like the Dream Act that would allow me a shot at achieving my hope of legal permanent residency.
I’m in Washington this week to meet with members of Congress to encourage them to do just that.
I believe most Americans, even those who want enhanced border security, want to give me that opportunity.
More than 800 business leaders from every sector of the economy and all across the nation have written to congressional leaders asking them to pass the Dream Act. This support has heartened us and made us feel even more a part of the communities in which we live.
Last week, The Washington Post and ABC News released the results of a survey that asked voters their feelings about immigration. Almost nine in 10 respondents said they support DACA.
We also know that the president and many prominent conservatives want Congress to pass the Dream Act, or similar legislation. President Donald Trump has said he’ll revisit his choice to end DACA if Congress doesn’t act. He’s said he has “great love” for me and my fellow recipients, and he’s implied that no one wants to deport “good, educated and accomplished young people..."
I hope he’s right, and I’m encouraged other prominent Republicans have echoed the president’s statements. House Speaker Paul Ryan has acknowledged Dreamers “know no other country” as their home. He’s said that both he and the president want a humane solution.
If Congress doesn’t pass a bill like the Dream Act, I will lose the opportunity to continue my studies, and I won’t be able to use the skills I am learning to help the people who have done so much for me. Over the next two years, every DACA recipient will lose his or her ability to work, go to school or serve in the U.S. military.
According to the Center for American Progress and data from the Cato Institute, each day 1,400 young people will lose their jobs. That will hurt me, but Cato says it also will cost U.S. employers $6.3 billion.
Those costs would be needless. My fellow Dreamers and I, we are here to work.
In fact, we already pay taxes. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, we supply about $2 billion in revenue each year to state and local governments.
I want to stay. I want to help make this country great again.