To the editor:
On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the future of the policy that has protected young people brought illegally to the U.S. as children — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. More than 700,000 young people have relied on it to shield them from deportation and permit them to work and study. The Trump administration’s 2017 order to end the program has been put on hold by lower courts, but these injunctions are only temporary measures.
As they await the last word from the justices, DACA recipients and their families and friends are nervous. The fact that dozens of universities, more than 100 municipalities, and 80 law enforcement officials are supporting continuation of the program doesn’t alter the fact that if the court decides against it, thousands will find their lives in shambles — jobs lost, families uprooted and an end to any sense of membership in the country.
Our neighbors on the North Fork include many DACA residents and their families. Whether graduate students, workers on Wall Street or Washington, or parents, their fears and frustrations are legion. Mayra Gonzalez, a 2018 graduate of NYU whose Salvadoran family lives in Mattituck, speaks for many. “I‘m pulling myself into the middle class because of DACA and education,” she says. “I don’t know what to expect from the Supreme Court. If DACA is terminated I will feel less safe. My name and address is in the system.”
She also looks beyond her own situation to critique current policy. “Reform has to be comprehensive — not just DACA or solutions at the border. What’s happening now is such a waste of human resources.”
From Long Island to California, people came to demonstrate at the Supreme Court this week. Their slogan is “Home is here,” announcing their commitment to the country they have grown up in. They plan make it a better place if they are given the chance.
Diana Gordon, Greenport