Dianna E. Ploss
Gloucester resident, activist, entrepreneur
President Trump was 100 percent correct to order an end the DACA program. My opinion does not make me a racist. It makes me someone who loves, values, and respects her country.
Many people opposed to DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] cite unfairness to legal immigrants who pay fees and wait years to be granted American citizenship; unfairness to hardworking taxpayers like you who pay to feed, house, and educate illegal immigrants; and unfairness to American citizens who believe they must follow the law, yet people who are here without permission do not have to follow the same laws.
I agree with those reasons. However, I feel my reasons “Trump” the others: The DACA program devalues America, the country I love, and our Constitution. It rewards people for breaking the law. Additionally, DACA has caused groups of people in America to fight against one another. Politicians in favor of DACA are calling people who are opposed to it racists. No longer can you disagree with someone and then go out for coffee, because who has coffee with a racist?
My reasons make me sad. They should make you sad, too. My belief is that once something becomes devalued, it is near impossible to recover its worth. Remember those new shoes you worked so hard to buy? You loved them. Did your best to keep them scuff-free. Once that big scuff appears, all bets are off. You spend less time taking care of them and they wind up in the trash. That is what is happening now in America.
I also believe that once groups of people begin to fight one another, our unity as a nation crumbles. It used to be that we were all under the “American Umbrella.” We all believed and adhered to American values and our Constitution. Unless we start demanding that people enter our country legally, we will be many groups of people continually fighting one another.
America is very special. It’s priceless. Therefore, we must protect it with all our might. Your children and your grandchildren deserve a country that is safe and free. We shouldn’t be giving it away to those who break the law to get in.
Essex County resident
DACA transformed my life and the lives of thousands of young immigrants living in the shadows in the United States. With no other pathway for undocumented immigrants to attain legal status, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was the closest thing to holding a legal status that provided temporary protection from being ripped away from our families.
But it was more than protection from deportation; it opened opportunities for Dreamers to be recognized by the country where we have spent most of our lives.
I came to the US with my mom when I was 4 to escape violence in my native country. I learned about the impacts of my undocumented status my junior year of high school, when classmates began working their first jobs and getting their driving permits. When my friends asked why I did not have a permit or a job, I could not give them a true answer.
My main fear was that I would never be able to apply for college. I had never questioned my identity until that moment. All I had ever known was American culture, but it suddenly felt like I did not belong.
No matter the circumstances, my family has always continued to stay involved in the community and we advocated for our rights through the Essex County Community Organization.
President Obama announced DACA right before my senior year of high school. I qualified and was able to get my driver’s license, attend college, get a job to pay my tuition, and pay my taxes. DACA has allowed me to contribute to the country I call home.
Dreamers are students, volunteers, workers, and neighbors who give back to the community. We are not criminals. The Trump administration’s decision to end DACA is the wrong move for the US.
Now, on any given day, while on our way to babysit for a neighbor, volunteer at the local nursing home, or work downtown at a restaurant, we can get picked up, locked up, and then deported to a country we barely know. Do we really want to be a nation that separates young people from their mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, and the country we have called home for decades?
No: 53.33% (8 votes)
Yes: 46.67% (7 votes)
As told to Globe correspondent John Laidler. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.