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800,000 People's Lives on the Line, What Students are Doing

Reading+off+of+a+short+script%2C+freshman+Peyton+Fehrenbach+and+junior+Kaitlin+Cantwell+call+their+representative.+They+were+some+of+the+20+GSA+members+who+called+about+immigration+on+Jan.+9+in+AW109.
Reading off of a short script, freshman Peyton Fehrenbach and junior Kaitlin Cantwell call their representative. They were some of the 20 GSA members who called about immigration on Jan. 9 in AW109.

Reading off of a short script, freshman Peyton Fehrenbach and junior Kaitlin Cantwell call their representative. They were some of the 20 GSA members who called about immigration on Jan. 9 in AW109.

Deana Trautz

Deana Trautz

Reading off of a short script, freshman Peyton Fehrenbach and junior Kaitlin Cantwell call their representative. They were some of the 20 GSA members who called about immigration on Jan. 9 in AW109.

Deana Trautz, Reporter

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We’ve gotten some snow, the ball dropped as we went into the new year and, what’s that? 800,000 immigrants are still at risk of deportation.

You may remember back in early September when Trump repealed DACA, the program protecting illegal immigrants who came in as minors at the will of their parents. It provided them with social security, the right to work and aid in becoming legal and protection against deportation. These people, who are often doctors, teachers and part of the millions who pay taxes to the United States of America now must wait for their DACA to expire. Because their DACA is now nonrenewable, they are forced to carpool to work in order to avoid any minor traffic violation which could lead to them being deported.

Around 1000 people lose their right to work per day, facing the risk that they could then be deported to countries that they never grew up in and often haven’t experienced at all. 

This is one of those things for me that really matters, even if I’m not a dreamer myself”

— Emma Hurley

Because Trump’s standpoint as of a recent meeting where he said DACA cannot be kept unless an $18 billion wall is put in place, we must start speaking up. And adults are not the only ones who should be taking a stand.

After my friend told me about the current state of DACA just a week ago, I went straight home to post on my Snapchat and Instagram stories about what was going on. I provided one of the numbers to call as well as a script.

Around 60 people viewed my Snapchat story and a small chunk of them took my advice to screenshot the number and script. I got a few people who asked me questions too about how they speak to their representatives. I thought that I had done good, but then I decided that as the vice president of GSA (genders and sexualities alliance), I had a great opportunity to get students to call in.

On Jan. 9 in Mrs. Zabel-Brewer’s room in AW109, GSA members were eagerly coming and going from the classroom. As they began to congregate in the hallway to make calls, I couldn’t have been happier to see students my age so thrilled and passionate about making their opinion heard.

We planned our meeting around educating and calling our representatives. We advertised on social media a bit and got a turn out of around 20 people. When I asked how many knew what DACA was, only about three hands were raised- so we began to teach them all about it. Junior Katana Riley, who is a junior ambassador for FWD.us, an organization helping protect DACA Dreamers, came to the meeting and helped explain the whole deal to GSA members.

She talked about how it’s important to call our congressman, John Carter, but also crucial that we reach out to our senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. These representatives’ jobs are to listen to our needs and fight for them. So, we put the information on the board and many began to punch in the phone numbers.

Though hundreds of people saw on social media that GSA would be calling representatives, only 20 showed up. In this time period, I’ve noticed that students are being considerably passive- many not caring to hear about any controversial event taking place in the world.

Junior Faith Nordmeyer says how our age should not discourage us from learning what is going on in the world.

“It’s important for people our age to start educating ourselves and others while we’re still young,” Nordmeyer said. “Though we can’t vote, we can still contact those who can make our future a slightly better place.”

I understand that everyone has their views and their parents are also influencing their knowledge on these subjects. However, at the end of the day, people are on the line. These are not people who ran across the border or had a master plan to rob America of its so called American dream.

These DACA dreamers at risk came here as minors- all having come into the country prior to being 16 years of age, often coming in before they can talk.

They are hard working, tax paying people and even though you may not be a DACA dreamer, we should all be able to empathize with the desire to feel safe. Freshman Emma Hurley tells why she is passionate on the issue.

“This is one of those things for me that really matters, even if I’m not a dreamer myself,” Hurley said. “I strongly believe that the DACA dreamers have a right to stay in America and reapply. I think that taking that right away has many consequences that Trump is not discussing.”

Though Hurley admitted it was nerve racking experience calling her representative for the first time, she says that after doing so in GSA, she went home to call again and also convinced her mom to call.

Of course calling could be nerve racking, however you have to imagine how outrageously nerve racking it is right now for hundreds of thousands of people who don’t know what may happen within the next few months. They have lost their sense of security and for most of them with families and small children, they worry that they may never get to see them again after their DACA expires.

There was a story in Vox about a DACA dreamer and mother of four, Angelica Villalobos. She has a 10 year old daughter and must explain to her that she could be deported in coming months. Villalobos said that after the presidential election, her youngest daughter cried and has been spending a lot of time looking up how dangerous it is in Mexico, where her mom would be deported to.

FWD.us made a campaign for the holidays about a family that may be split up with the expiration of their DACA. The mother in the video has a daughter who can just barely walk, who she says is around the age that she was when she came into the country years ago. Her husband is also in the military and she worries that if he comes back from deployment, her daughter may only have her father to lean on if no DACA legislation is passed.

“Not knowing my future is one of the worst feelings in the world,” she said. “A Christmas wish that I have would be a bipartisan dream act to be passed so that my family could stay together.”

Please put yourself in these people’s shoes. If it were happening to your family, would you make that call?

 

Here are the local office numbers for our representatives in Cedar Park:

 

Congressman John Carter

Congressman John Carter:

(512) 246-1600

Senator John Cornyn:

(512) 469-6034

Senator Ted Cruz:

(512) 916-5834

Senator Ted Cruz (left) Senator John Cornyn (right)

Here is a script:

“Hi my name is _________ and I’m calling to urge (representative name) to support legislation that will protect DACA dreamers by January 19th.”

If you call later than 5 pm, you will most likely leave them a message instead of talking to a secretary. If you do talk to a person, all they may ask you is your zip code/ address. As long as you say a version of this short script, stating that you want them to support DACA, they will mark a tally indicating support. Every call counts.

Click here to find all the numbers to your representatives.

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