SEAC’s Marc is DACA!

By Boa Newgate

This is Marc. …

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Marc is serving his second year in the Army Reserves. Marc spends most of his time working and volunteering at the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts (SEAC).

Anh Vu Sawyer, the executive director at SEAC, has often said: “It’s because of Marc and all the staff, SEAC has been able to serve the more than 9,000 clients who visit a year, in addition to reaching out to more than 5,000 individuals during outreach events to assist them with many of their needs.”

Marc’s contribution in the community and at SEAC leading the youth program has certainly helped SEAC to be recognized as a trusted non-profit organization serving immigrants and refugees. It was given numerous awards for the work it has been doing for the community – Community Hero, Humanities Award, Best Small Nonprofit Award to name a few.

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Through his work with mental wellness programs and the suicide prevention program, and as a mentor to other youth, Marc has saved lives. He is a positive role model for many youths in and outside of Worcester. As a US military reserve, Marc aims to protect this country. He is loved by all he serves and works with: students, colleagues, friends, family and many members of his community. Marc is an everyday hero in the eyes of all who know him.

But Marc has a secret: one that has kept him in the dark. This secret gave him anxiety and great agony for many years, but he finally got the courage to share his story to me. He doesn’t want to live in fear anymore. He wants to empower others like him. Marc is a Dreamer … protected by DACA.

President Obama created DACA in 2012 in an executive order to help the children of immigrants, covering more than 800,000 people.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was drawn up after Congress failed to pass the DREAM (Development, Relief, Education for Alien Minors) Act.

There are certain qualifications for DACA: one must have arrived in the US before 2007 and be under the age of 16 with no criminal record. This ensures that those under DACA have a good purpose and that they are people who have earned and deserve their part in it. DACA recipients are given temporary legal status in America. They are given a Social Security card, given the ability to obtain a work permit – but they cannot apply for citizenship.

They pay their share in taxes and also pay $500 every two years to renew their status.

Tom K. Wong, an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, oversaw a national survey of 3,063 DACA holders last month and found that “on average [these people] were six and a half years old when they arrived in the U.S. Most of them — 54 percent– were under the age of 7″ (factcheck.org).

100% of DACA recipients have no criminal record and 91% have jobs, but they have limited term.

They get nothing for free in this country.

They have dreams and aspirations just like everyone here. This is their home, they have no fault of their own when they arrive here. They are children of immigrants that came from very dangerous places. Their families risk their life to be here, seeking protection, freedom and a better life for their families, just like the original settlers of America.

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On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration began its efforts to rescind DACA. The Trump administration gave Congress six months to come up with “a fix” before the federal government officially stopped renewing permits.

At this point, if I didn’t convince you that rescinding DACA is inhuman, here’s an economic perspective: “Ending DACA would hurt the U.S economy!” We could lose hundreds of thousands of jobs, more specifically we would lose “$460 billion in economic output over the next decade, as well as $24.6 billion in contribution to Medicare and Social Security” (Progressive Advocacy Group Center for American Progress and FWD.us).

Marc and the other Dreamers were brought to this country by their parents at a young age, meaning that they had no say in the decision of living here. But they have considered this country HOME –
the only country they have ever known. This is the only place they know of, have roots, with most of them residing here for the majority of their childhood.

If the Dreamers lose DACA, they’re potentially losing all they know and love. They have their culture in their hearts, but America is their home they love, and they will do their best to take care of and protect it. It’s cruel to kick people out of their homes.

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