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Why is immigration such a controversial issue?
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised to crack down on undocumented immigration, including hundreds of thousands of young people who have obtained temporary legal status under the Obama Administration.
Now, those young adults, known as Dreamers, are uncertain and worried about their future. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was created in an executive order by President Barack Obama and permits undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to work and study here on a temporary basis.
They are worried Trump will repeal the action, producing serious consequences for some 800,000 Dreamers.
“I was 11 years old when I immigrated to the United States. I didn’t know what being undocumented was,” said New York City college student Diana Chacon, DACA Recipient. “I didn’t even know that a piece of paper can actually determine my whole future.”
Dreamers have been protesting since the election on Nov. 8 asking that DACA remain.
However, Trump supporters like Sebastian Demetrio, a 78-year-old veteran in New York City and an immigrant from Eastern Europe, wants to see an even stricter immigration policy.
“A lot of people are sneaking up in this country. They’re taking our jobs,” said Demetrio, who immigrated legally. “Take care of your own people first before you take care of the other people that don’t belong in this country.”
While Trump said repealing DACA was a priority of his during the campaign, he has not clarified his position since the election.
undocumented immigrant — a person present in the U.S. without proper authorization
DACA — an American immigration policy ordered by President Obama as an executive action that allows certain undocumented immigrants to the U.S. who entered the country before turning 16 and before June 2007 to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation
Dreamer — a term used to describe young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, who have lived and gone to school here, and who in many cases identify as American (Anti-Defamation League)
Warm up questions (before watching the video)
- Why do people decide to immigrate to the U.S.?
- What is the difference between legal and illegal immigration?
- What does it mean to be undocumented?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
- Why do you think President Barack Obama decided to grant certain protections to those who entered the country illegally at a young age?
- How important do you think President-elect Donald Trump’s immigration stance was to his campaign?
- Should Dreamers be granted an eventual path to full citizenship? Why or why not?