SAU Buzz

“Dreamers” are all around us

by Kaylee Golden
Posted on Sep 21, 2017

Two years old. Unable to speak, unable to reason, but brought into a situation that would forever affect her life. Rosario, a self-proclaimed “dreamer” and Ambrose student, was brought to America by her parents for a chance to live a better life. However, she is now facing a nightmare with the recent rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

DACA, a product of the Obama administration, allotted children brought into the country illegally while 16 or under an opportunity to acquire a social security card and work permit that were renewable every two years. The program had very strict requirements that had to be met prior to the application, as well as a 700 dollar price tag for the application process alone. Not including subsequent reapplications, which come with the same price tag.

On Thursday, September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration was rescinding DACA. During the press conference, Sessions said “the [Obama] executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.”

Rosario, like any other college student, was so caught up in her first few weeks of classes that she didn’t even realize this decision was being considered.

“I heard of the news or something in the talks on September 1,” Rosario said. “At first I was thinking, this is just a rumor, they can’t possibly end something so drastically.”

Sessions’ announcement brought out an array of emotions for Rosario in the following hours and days.

“It was very overwhelming,” Rosario said. “I cried a lot. Like a lot. And the more I kept thinking, I just kept thinking how in history there’s always been a marginalized group and you know, it’s kind of my time to be marginalized. I thought about how I could pack up and go home and leave everything I’ve been working for literally all my life or I could keep at it and just keep working until someone gives me another direction.”

Rosario was raised to be put school first and to know the difference between her situation and that of a natural citizen.

“At a very young age, I was brought up and told that school is very important and you need to get an education because from the places we come from you cannot necessarily get an education that easily,” Rosario said. “I was thankfully told at a very young age that I am not a citizen, so I can’t go around thinking I have all these rights, essentially.”

Rosario understands the risks and debts she’s undertaken and worries that that will all be to waste if she isn’t allowed to complete her education and stay in her country.

“I’m the first one going to college in my family and thankfully I can set an example for my siblings to pursue a college education, too.” Rosario said.

Rosario has two younger siblings who were born in the United States and have legal citizenship. So, if she were to be sent out of the country, she would have to leave them and the rest of her family. Rosario wants to make sure that those outside of the situation realize all that DACA has provided her and others like her with.

“When DACA was passed, I was able to not only get a social security number, but also get a driver’s license and have a work permit,” Rosario said. “Prior to DACA, the idea of going to college, even the idea of just getting my driver’s license, wasn’t even a reality for me.”

Before DACA was rescinded, Rosario’s plans for the future were high-reaching and ambitious.

“My plans were to attend college, get my bachelor’s in my major, apply for internships, and even possibly do study abroad,” Rosario said. “As far as my plans now, I was granted approval for a two year renewal in my work permit and my social security number, so I’ll be able to attend school for the next two years.”

Within those two years Rosario hopes to be able to complete her degree so that she can find a job in the states. Right now, Rosario’s estimated graduation is Fall 2019 or Spring 2020.

Since coming to Ambrose, Rosario has had to adapt to life away from her family where she had a safe place and a strong support system. Within her major’s department and from those she has spoken to about her situation, she stressed that she has always received support and empathy. However, prior to the recent statement that St. Ambrose released via email, Rosario discussed her disappointment in the lack of response on campus and by the administration specifically regarding the DACA situation.

“I was hoping to see something in regards during the days following this and I’ve been checking my email frequently, but I feel like in not seeing it, that kind of speaks volumes,” Rosario said. “I am not saying that everyone here is in agreement with it [DACA’s rescinding], but I do feel like there’s not a lot of talk about it, and that might be because some people kind of assume it doesn’t affect them here at Ambrose, it’s not an Ambrose issue, or an Iowa issue.”

However, this is very much an Ambrose issue. It is very much an Iowa issue. It is an issue for human beings in general. Rosario talked about what she wants people to know about her and people in her situation.

“I would put yourself in my shoes,” Rosario said. “All of a sudden it’s kind of like there’s a target on your back because if you reveal that you are in this group then you’re scrutinized because you’re seen as the ‘other.’”

Being part of that “other” is not something Rosario wants to get used to. Since coming here when she was two years old, there has been no other place that she calls home.

“I’ve grown up here, I identify myself as American before anything else.” Rosario said. “I would gladly fight for my country if I could, and that’s another aspect to this, is that people want to and they can’t because of this document that says you weren’t born on American soil.”

Rosario wants to make sure that when Americans are scrutinizing this situation and taking their stance, they should look at it as more than just a money issue.

“This isn’t an issue of economy, and there’s people that say, well you are going to lose all these individuals that are working for you, but that’s not the main reason you should think about,” Rosario said. “This is a humanitarian issue, this isn’t economics, you know you can sway money left or right, but these are people that could lose their lives or very much so, just, this could completely shatter the world.”

With her world nearly shattered, Rosario knows that she must look at this situation as realistically as possible.

“I do have to plan for the worst,” Rosario said. “I do have relatives that I am in contact with in Mexico and should that have to become an option, I would have to move back and try to attend a school that is in all Spanish. It’s a scary thought to have to think that not only have I indebted myself with an education I thought I was going to complete, but I might have to start from ground zero somewhere else.”

However, Rosario tries to be as optimistic as her analytical mind will let her be.

“I am really hopeful that a lawful agreement will be made because if you even just break it down to a pros and cons list there aren’t any good cons to this program,” Rosario said. “I just hope that no one wants to be on the wrong side of history, because this is something that will go down in history as a moment of good versus bad.”