GLENDALE – The ARF Shant Student Association, Armenian Youth Federation-Western United States (AYF-WUS), and All-Armenian Student Association would like to express their dismay and disapproval of the Trump administration’s recent announcement that the federal government will effectively end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This regressive move is a broken promise to youths who rightfully call America home. The Armenian youth organizations stand in solidarity with students who face fear and uncertainty in light of the President’s misguided decision.
The DACA program offers young undocumented immigrants, typically brought to the United States as children, a two-year renewable reprieve from deportation and a work permit. Since the DACA program was established in 2012, more than three-quarters of a million young immigrants have pursued a college education. These students have enriched our university communities and our society as a whole. Unless Congress acts to keep the program intact, DACA beneficiaries will begin to lose protection on March 6, 2018, losing their eligibility for employment and rendering them deportable.
We urge Congress to act quickly to pass bipartisan legislation that would protect undocumented students and secure their future in the United States. Our legislature must work to chart a secure pathway toward citizenship and allow Dreamers to continue to live, work, and serve the only country that most of them know as home. We encourage our community to reach out to their elected representatives to add their voice to those calling for legislation that will allow DACA beneficiaries to live and work without fear of deportation from the United States.
At this trying time, we look to our education institutions to provide resources for undocumented students as well as support for various programs that aid these communities. Further, we urge the administrators and officials at our colleges and university campuses to use their influences and agencies to advocate for affected students. We commend the university officials who have already issued strong statements against the current decision on DACA and encourage others to follow suit.
Our organizations, which are comprised in large part by descendants of victims of crimes against humanity, civil wars, and economic hardship, firmly believe in the American values of equality and opportunity. This decision is fundamentally incongruent with those ideals.
We believe that our nation must be a vibrant and diverse setting fostering all human progress. The individual must have the broadest set of opportunities for intellectual and moral development, interaction and personal growth. DACA has brought countless young people out of the shadows, allowing them to live without fear, obtain an education, and contribute to the prosperity of our society.
Although this decision is deeply disappointing, it provides an opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to the struggle for diversity and inclusion in the United States of America.