Protecting DACA Immigrants: Call Your Representative Today

DACA Set to End in March, How You Can Help

Deana Trautz, Reporter

Over 10 years ago, junior Katana Riley’s uncle was deported after living in the U.S. since he was just two years old. He had no say in coming into the country illegally and spent his life being extra careful not to defy the law. After just one mistake, he was taken away from his family. They now have to spend their birthdays and holidays without their father, which Riley says is what hurts the most.

Immigration has been big in the news, but it is getting ever more serious as the months are counting down until our congressmen will be voting on legislation to keep or get rid of DACA.

The DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was created in 2012 by Obama for immigrants brought into this country as children. They had no say in coming into the U.S. illegally. DACA was there to protect these minors from immediate deportation, yet on Sept. 5, 2017, President Trump confirmed the rescindment, or repeal, of DACA.

It is planned to be rescinded on March 5 2018, however many immigrants’ DACA expires in between the months of September (when the rescindment was announced) and March. Since it was announced in September that the end of DACA would be coming, they quit accepting applications and will not let people’s DACA be renewed. This means that once it expires, it cannot be renewed and therefore these people are at risk of deportation. However, legislation will be voted on this coming December, making December a priority in the protection of these immigrants.

When DACA was put in place in 2012, it was not done so through legislation, but instead through an executive order made by Obama after being unable to pass it in Congress. Because of this, Republicans are often treating the rescindment as correcting what was done by Obama in order to preserve moral in the law system. During Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that DACA would be rescinded, he claimed that all things must be done in a lawful manner.

By U.S. Customs and Border Protection (160120-H-NI589-0103) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Though there is still until March 5th of 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA on Sept. 5 earlier this year.
Societies where the rule of law is treasured are societies that tend to flourish and succeed…Ending the previous Administration’s disrespect for the legislative process is an important first step. All immigration policies should serve the interests of the people of the United States—lawful immigrant and native born alike.”- Attorney General Jeff Sessions

This country was made by immigrants, in fact the first limitation on immigration was put in place just around five decades ago, called The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. Before this, there were no serious regulations in place.

Those who do come into the country illegally get placed at the back of the line, according to NPR. They spoke in an article about this ‘line’, and an immigrant named Maria who came over from Mexico illegally with her husband. They were put at the back of the line in order to prioritize other immigrants, causing Maria to wait 16 years in line to obtain her citizenship. And during the long process, they were unable to go back to Mexico for any reason, in order to keep their legalization on track. According to the article, Maria and her husband’s lawyer said that “If they do leave the United States and get caught coming back, the law automatically adds another 10 years to their wait.”

Citizenship does not come effortlessly, and those coming in illegally do not expect it immediately. DACA does not provide minors with citizenship either, but instead a social security number and the ability to work in the U.S. DACA simply promises that under their program, these minors can have the right to a legal wage and do not need to worry about being deported.

As of this year, 800,000 immigrants, according to The New York Times, are currently being protected under DACA, however their protection is now at risk. They are being faced with the threat that in March, they will be tracked down with the information they provided DACA with at the time of registration and then somehow sent out of the country. DACA protects those brought here as minors, many of whom have not lived in their birth country. This being said, if the 800,000 do get deported, not only will there be no place for them to really be dropped off, but many would have little to no experience of living in that country.

These people do not fit the image that President Trump creates when he said said, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people” seen in a Time Magazine article.

The “some” that he assumes are good people are these 800,000 being threatened with deportation. They pay taxes, they contribute to our economy, they often have jobs such as doctors and teachers. If they do get deported, the U.S. will be faced with massive expenses.

According to Time Magazine, here are the estimated expenses:

  • $283 billion in loss of economic output over 10 years
  • $60 billion of loss in taxes
  • $7.4 billion in deportation costs

All together, this equals a total of about $283 billion in costs after ending DACA. And after a 10 year period, the nation should lose a whopping $433 billion.

States such as California and Texas (with the largest border) will take a big hit with the end of DACA. And worst of all, these costs keep costing us, every single year.

Here is the annual loss made by CNBC, showing that every year California will lose $11.3 billion and Texas, $6.1 billion. Remember these are billions we are talking about, that is 12 zeros: 1,000,000,000,000.

In addition to these 800,000 people who will be sent away, it can be expected that their families will accompany them, meaning even more loss; costs that cannot be calculated precisely.

Now that you know the severity of the situation, it is in our hands to prevent this deportation. Congress votes on legislation this coming December, but it is vital that your representative knows what you want to happen, what you want them to fight for.

On Nov. 12, Riley, whose uncle was deported, hosted an “Immigration Bingo,” where she layed out information regarding immigration and got everyone to call the number of their representative. Because it was later in the day, we left voicemails saying who we were and what we wanted them to support.

Riley organized this to support , an organization she is part of that works towards immigration reform. She wanted to teach people how easy it is to call representatives and also how important it is to do so.

“We are kind of at a time where people witness things and say, ‘oh they’ll be fixed’,” Riley said. “My hope is to get people my age to know what they want, instead of just listening to social media.”

Holding her baby brother and calling her representative, junior Katana Riley hopes to protect immigrants by voicing her opinion. Riley said how taking initiative and making an effort is the only way for things to change. “If you want different laws on gun control or how schools are run, you should do something about that,” Riley said. “Instead of just sitting, complaining and watching it all happen.”

Not only should you have an opinion, but she advocates expressing what you want to your congressmen in order to make change.

“If you don’t put the effort in, nothing is going to change, or it will change possibly in the way you don’t want it to,” Riley said. “We vote for our representatives to represent us and have our opinion heard. I think it is really important for the community to know how to contact their congressmen.”

Partly because Riley’s uncle was deported 10 years ago, immigration reform has always been important to her family. 

“He came into this country, lived here his whole life and never messed up until that one time. He didn’t choose to come here and was never able to get status,” Riley said. “One day, there is the hope that things like that don’t happen to people. I’m just trying to make sure that DACA is working as planned.”

According to junior Ally Hall, she had the misconception that her voice would not be heard if she did call.

“I feel like we are often told as teenagers that our opinions don’t matter because we are just one out of millions of people,” Hall said. “After learning more, I now realize that I can call once or twice a day and every time I call, I am making a difference.”

When you do call and say what you want, your representative actually adds a tally to the issue signifying another person is in support of change. You do not have to talk to a person either, but instead call later in the day and leave a voicemail or even send them an email. All of these options will result in another tally.


Contacting your representative:

Your representative is determined by which congressional district you live in. In the Cedar Park/ Williamson County area, we are in the 31st district. Click here if you live elsewhere or want to find another district’s representative.

Congressman John Carter is the representative for this area.

Austin office:



[email protected]

Calling seems stressful at first, but you only need to include a few simple things.

  • Your name
  • Your representative
  • What you want them to support’

Here is a script that you can use or base your call off of:

“Hi my name is ______ and I am a constituent in Congressman Carter’s district. I’m calling to ask Congressman Carter to pass a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers by December.”

If you are a little confused by that script, here are a couple things to clear that up:

  • Saying that you are a constituent in Carter’s district simply means that you are a member who votes in that district.
  • Immigrants protected under the DACA program are known as “Dreamers.”

Use this short script or make your own, stating why you support immigration reform.

After you do it once, it only gets easier. Freshman Peyton Fehrenbach says how good it feels to be making a difference for immigrants.

“It feels good to fight for immigrants’ safety, not only because I have immigrant friends, but because I believe every human deserves the same rights,” Fehrenbach said.

Hall says how we are the ones to determine our future, and everyone’s futures to come, so it is especially important to be heard.

“Whatever happens now will directly affect our lives and the lives of our kids,” Hall said. “If we have a say on what our future is, we should not stand back, but instead do everything we can to fight back.”