On January 15, many Americans will observe Martin Luther King, Jr Day with a bank holiday, school closures, and no postal service; otherwise it’s not really holiday that is celebrated by most Americans. King is probably best known for his “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963 where he famously said:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”” King added, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” After the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, VA and other cities across the country in 2017, it is obvious that King’s dream has not come true. And nearly 55 year’s after King’s famous speech, a new generation of young people have their own dream: to be exempted from deportation.
CNBC reports, “President Donald Trump says a program to protect immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children is “probably dead.”” Adding, “Trump said last year that he’s killing the [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)] program unless Congress sends him legislation by March to keep it.”
DACA is an Obama-era policy to exempt from deportation anyone who: arrived in the United States as a minor in violation of US immigration laws prior to June 15, 2012; has lived in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007; is a student, graduated with a diploma or GED, or has an honorable discharge from the US military; does not have a felony, or serious misdemeanor conviction; and who is not a threat to national security or public safety.
Currently about 800,000 people are eligible to apply for protection under DACA. However President Trump has said he plans to end the program, thus killing the dream of these 800,000 DREAMers. Those covered under DACA are called DREAMers because DACA is the successor of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which was first introduced in Congress in 2001 under a different name, and in 2007 as the DREAM Act.
While Congress refuses to act, Jeff Bezos along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the Ford Foundation; the PepsiCo Foundation; and the Coca-Cola Foundation have donated to TheDream.us, an organization “working to help over 4,000 highly motivated DREAMers graduate from college with career-ready degrees,” with Bezos making a donation to fund 1,000 scholarships.
Unfortunately since it appears DACA is dead; tens of thousands of DACA eligible youth who are currently in high school may never be able to take advantage of a scholarship funded by Bezos. Which means that these DREAMers could wake up one morning to the real life nightmare of being deported to a country of which they have no memories.