A Georgia dreamer who came to America as infant and attends college now: Let me stay

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program have been swept up in a wave of anxiety, worried about being forced back underground or even deported. (Sam Hodgson/The New York Times)

Jaime Rangel is a Dalton State College student now working as an intern in Atlanta. Brought to the United States as an infant, Rangel is part of the  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which enables him to attend college.

By Jaime Rangel

I’m a “Dreamer”— I was brought to the United States illegally when I was 6 months old; before I could walk, before I could talk, and long before I had any rights to make legal decisions of my own. I love America. I work hard, follow the rules, and because I grew up in Georgia, I speak with a southern accent. The United States is my home, and I don’t know any other – which is why it is so frightening to think that I could be facing possible deportation to a country I have never known.

During the 2016 presidential election, President Trump focused much of his rhetoric on the issue of our country’s immigration system. He threatened to end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  program, which has allowed me to legally stay and study in the United States since 2012.

I’m a student at Dalton State College, studying finance and economics. I hope someday to work in governmental affairs and work with our elected officials on policies that can help my state remain the number one state to do business. I want to help my community grow, prosper, or as Gov. Nathan Deal said recently on his state of the state “accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative.”

But I may not get the chance. While President Trump has indicated that he may be open to working with Congress on a solution that will allow Dreamers like me to stay in the United States, it is imperative to keep the DACA issue at the forefront of the national conversation about immigration, and encourage Congress to work with the president to find a solution to this important issue.

Dreamers like me consider ourselves Americans, and only want the same chance at achieving the American Dream as our fellow countryman. We all had to apply to qualify for DACA—including comprehensive background checks—and 90 percent of the approximately 750,000 DACA recipients in the U.S. have jobs, while many others are students and still more have started their own successful businesses. We are your friends, neighbors, teachers, students, doctors—and even family.

The good news is, Senators Richard Durbin, D-Ill.,  and Lindsey Graham, R-SC  introduced legislation in January that would allow DACA recipients like me to stay, work, and study in the United States. The bill, known as the BRIDGE Act, has garnered the official support of a bipartisan group of senators, and a companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives as well. I strongly encourage the entire Georgia federal congressional delegation to join their ranks and support this common-sense, forward-looking legislation.

I believe that, as Americans, we can find a way forward—we can both fix our immigration system and reject racism and xenophobia. But Latinos, Muslims, and people of color need to make sure our voices are heard and our votes are counted. And we must show our support for the legislators who are willing to work with us and the legislation that will help improve our lives.

Keeping DACA, instituting a similar program, or passing legislation such as the BRIDGE Act makes both moral and economic sense. The United States made a promise to Dreamers who came out of the shadows as I did—our government should keep that promise. Forcibly removing hundreds of thousands hard-working students, workers, and business owners from our country will do nothing to make us more safe, and will almost certainly make us less prosperous, and indeed, less great.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

157 comments
MtSL
MtSL

There is no path to citizenship for these young people once they turn 18. The military option is one that is no longer available. They (or many) are Georgia raised and educated who are paying out-of-state tuition and working one or two jobs (legally, by the way, on work permits) to pay their bills and for their education. They are paying taxes and not collecting on the benefits. They blend into our society because they were raised here. BUT, unlike most of the people posting here, they are in a legal limbo and run the risk that for any minor infraction they could be deported to a country, culture, and language that they do not know. Their parents may, somewhat, have a country to go back to. These Dreamers do not.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Yep, it must suck to come from a third world hellhole of a country.  Forgive us if we're simply trying to keep our country from becoming like, well, yours.

So, one illegal alien out of how many may be worth a crap.  So what.  What about all the others who join gangs, commit crime, drain essential services such as healthcare and public schools.  Think about the tens of thousands of dollars spent on this ILLEGAL ALIEN that could have been spent on an American citizen instead.

Linda Walters
Linda Walters

Should be done it the right way by getting legal but you didn't do by by

Taryn O McCoy
Taryn O McCoy

Meanwhile Trump Wines in VA wants to hire people from overseas to work for him.

Wayne Wells
Wayne Wells

She is illegal, she must go home! This is not her country! But she can stay if she pays back all government support and serve two years in the army.

Loisrae Mitchell
Loisrae Mitchell

He and his parents should all be deported! The parents right now, and the kid as soon as the 2 years ends. NO additional time! That is the only way to prove that we are serious about not allowing ILLEGALS here.

Maryanne Kehoe
Maryanne Kehoe

NO-you are here ILLEGALLY-and need to be deported!! How are you able to work if you are ILLEGAL?!?

Wilma Hardin
Wilma Hardin

But came as an infant. Read it again. Seems a little longer than two years. Now idiot I answered it for you.

Mario Pineda
Mario Pineda

Well you idiot i'll answer that for you! He's not illegal right now because he has permission to legally stay in the country for two years! Your attitude def matches your pro pic \U0001f602\U0001f602\U0001f602

Oscewicee Springs
Oscewicee Springs

Of all the illegal acts one could do, trying to stay in the country to go to college? how hard hearted people are.

Marvin Junior
Marvin Junior

Sadly that is a class seat and job position meant for us actual Americans.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I've taught a lot of kids who are now "Dreamers."  Almost without exception, they are wonderful Americans--hardworking, family-centered, reliable--and put many of our "born in the USA" young people to shame with their work ethic and desire to succeed against many odds.  They should be allowed to apply for citizenship.  I am proud to call many "mihija/ mihijo."

Michelle Lynn
Michelle Lynn

He had no say in being here. This is his home. His parents in the other hand?

Tracy Murphey
Tracy Murphey

It's interesting how, if you look through these posts (and you should), you will find a surprisingly large percentage of the people that are anti-immigration reform (which at this point, is really just law enforcement) are foreigners, recent descendants of illegal immigrants, people that are employed by subsidized industries that produce no "product", non taxable, assistance oriented, pro abortion, under 25, or have an "anonymous" profile. I've seen some on the more political issues that (trend on the right) cut and paste rants (mostly baseless and idiotic) from posting to posting.... and under different profiles (same rant, exactly), which means there is quite a machine out there with the purpose of getting policy changed so that it's much easier to depopulate (or out populate) America of taxpaying Americans. Just saying... And on this posts topic, they are demanding that we allow their constituents to break laws to reach that end.

readcritic
readcritic

The laws that really need to be changed and/or reinforced are those that protect the taxpaying citizens.

MtSL
MtSL

@readcritic These are taxpayers, but not citizens, and no reasonable route to becoming one.


Carolynn Shattuck
Carolynn Shattuck

I have no problem with the dreamers being here. They didn't have a choice, but I do object if they go to school for free, and get benefits. My children didn't go for free and the dreamers shouldn't either. If your in the U.S and can take care of yourself, then theres no problem.

Charles Rogers
Charles Rogers

I wonder if he has considered joining the military. If he loves this country so much and it has done so much for him he should be glad to defend it and earn his citizenship. I would.

Craig Jones Sr.
Craig Jones Sr.

Where did she get her Social security card......hmmmm

Brian Paone
Brian Paone

"Dreamer." I have a dream too. It involves not having to hear these excuses about why my tax dollars go towards these programs anymore.

Starik
Starik

@MotocrossSurvivor I understand that we need new immigration laws. The ones we have are largely worthless.

Carlos_Castillo
Carlos_Castillo

@MotocrossSurvivor   At some point, even a government must "move it or lose it," particularly for people who didn't will themselves across the border, but were brought in as infants or children by their parents.


If the DACA students were to be deported, then they ought to have been found and deported with their parents relatively soon after they arrived.  


Where the illegal entry or visa overstay is long ago, the individual parents ought to be legalized and individuals brought in as children, naturalized, in the absence serious criminal behavior.


Even aside from construction on the southern border, there are many things that could be done that haven't been done to make it nearly impossible for persons who are in the country illegally from staying to live and work.



Karin Zoanelli
Karin Zoanelli

how come people who broke our laws are now demonstrating and demanding of us to treat them specially. HELL NO

Karin Zoanelli
Karin Zoanelli

why does he not aply????? his parents are obviously here illegally - and so is he. I don't see where anybody is going tomake him leave. what the lying liberals try to tell us is that Trumps policy gets out everybody - when actually he only asks to ENFORCE THE LAW.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

If we are not careful, our beloved nation is going to be made up of self-serving little people with little compassion for others.

I do not believe America was created for that.

Starik
Starik

@MaryElizabethSings Compassion, like IQ is a bell curve, and half the population is on the wrong side of the 50% line.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

The compassion DNA gene seems to be missing in some, it appears, unfortunately.

MotocrossSurvivor
MotocrossSurvivor

@MaryElizabethSings So let's just do away with laws, borders, judges, and juries.  After all, if a person can present a case that the law doesn't really apply to them, 'cause they're so nice and special, let's just forget it and give in to their demand.  Hell woman, do you not have a clue that this kind of thinking would have never allowed the great USA that  you enjoy today sitting on  your butt typing your kumbaya sunbeam BS?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

To Motocross Survivor:

You set up that ridiculous line of thinking - not I.

Own your own gross thinking processes because I will never own them as mine. I think with more permutations and, hopefully, with more finesse.

JenkinsFamily
JenkinsFamily

We need to stop side-stepping the issue. If you came in illegally, you broke the law.


You know what the law is, right?


Let's just bend all the laws and see how that works for us.


"Hey, you can't do that!"....................yeah, didn't think so.

Starik
Starik

@gapeach101 @JenkinsFamily It's impossible for a baby to commit a crime. We need more productive citizens like the writer to pay the taxes to support our many unproductive citizens

gapeach101
gapeach101

@JenkinsFamily

Let's assume you're 5 years old and in a car.  Dad walks into the liquor store, kills the clerk, picks up a six pack and returns to the car and drives off. You know any occupant of that car is considered a party to the crime.   SO............in your world, the 5 year old goes to prison. RIght?

Starik
Starik

@MotocrossSurvivor @gapeach101 @JenkinsFamily You're the one who's out of touch. If decent people are here, working productively and generally staying out of trouble we should let them stay. If you want to prosecute all our outdated laws let's start with adultery and fornication. That will keep law enforcement and the courts busy.

readcritic
readcritic

@Starik @MotocrossSurvivor @gapeach101 @JenkinsFamily If these people were so decent, they would follow the legal path to becoming contributing citizens without complaining that they don't have enough rights and privileges that are designed for taxpayers who foot the bill. Above all, they would not come here and squat illegally!

Chuck Nalan
Chuck Nalan

I don't care if he was brought here at 6 months or not, he and his parents ARE illegal and all of the lawbreakers need to be deported !!!

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

Well, there are two separate questions here - one is what is fair, just, and compassionate (FJC) for your innocent, 6-month old self and your loving mother and father.  The other is what policies and procedures benefit the USA and its citizens in terms of providing economic benefits for our country and enhancing control of our borders.

On the FJC side, I am hard-pressed to argue that some form of legal residence for you, including a path to citizenship, in-state admission to Georgia public colleges, federal financial aid is the way to go.  Along with a policy that keeps long-time families residing in the USA intact.

Alas, the FJC "solution" above only provides massive, overwhelmingly compelling ongoing inducements for criminals like your mom and dad to continue to press on and violate US law on an ongoing basis while allowing other countries like Mexico to encourage additional illegal immigration and hoot and howl when the US enforces existing laws, as though we have to conform our immigration policy to the expectations of people who are not citizens of the this country and may not even have the USA's best interests at heart.  

You may well end up paying the price for your parents' choices here to serve our national interest.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I'll go with FJC because I believe that all human beings deserve to be treated with fairness, justice, and compassion.

MLK: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Starik
Starik

@MaryElizabethSings Deporting somebody who is doing as well as this kid is not in our country's interest. We need hard working, decent citizens.

readcritic
readcritic

@MaryElizabethSings

You should then pay for your "compassion" with your own money and not expect taxpayer dollars to foot the bill for illegal activity.