Advocates for widespread U.S. immigration reform are celebrating what many hope is a foot in the door for broadening the rights of young illegal immigrants.
Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of State announced they will issue driver’s licenses to young immigrants as part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program implemented last June.
The program will provide licenses to immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children by their parents and are not considered top priorities for deportation by the government.
Omari Sankofa II
DACA is the first of many steps on the road toward more extensive immigration reform in the U.S. But for the 1.8 million immigrants eligible for the program, its implications and impact will be apparent.
Issuing licenses to young adults who were brought to this country unwillingly by their parents makes the promised “American Dream” a reachable goal for these individuals.
For years now, immigration reform has been a hotbed issue in this country, dividing policy makers and local citizens alike and has once again made its way to the forefront of discussion.
President Barack Obama hasn’t shied away from vocalizing his opinions on the matter, and recently laid out a plan to help about 11 million immigrants achieve citizenship status.
Although DACA doesn’t offer solutions for many of the factors making this topic controversial — including fair taxation and job security — it does help secure the rights of these young immigrants.
The main goal of immigration reform should be to provide an outlet for making citizenship more attainable.
People who illegally come to the U.S. do so to create a better life for themselves or their families, but without any form of identification, this goal becomes difficult.
Issuing licenses puts these young adults in the driver’s seat of many of the opportunities they set out to find.
Students with these licenses can do things such as go to school and have a more active role in their communities. They can find more employment opportunities, establish families and create the life they originally left their home country to find.
And ensuring students who study here stay here to work should be an eventual outcome of immigration reform.
DACA has gained support from activists who agree with the framework of this program on both a national and local level. In Lansing, the “Dream For All” campaign was started to advocate for more comprehensive immigration reform.
Although it likely will be years until an immigration reform overhaul is complete, programs such as DACA should be embraced for the good they set out to achieve.
A core value of this country has always been to provide opportunity in the face of adversity, not to deny opportunity to those who wish to gain citizenship.