Two students from Berea College will be traveling to Washington D.C. on Tuesday to share that their home is here in Kentucky and to show support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, more commonly known as DACA.
On that day, the United States Supreme Court is set to hear a case that will help determine the fate of DACA, an American immigration policy that allows children brought into the country the ability to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.
The policy was implemented during the Obama Administration in August 2012, but was threatened in September 2017 when President Donald Trump launched plans to phase out the program.
One of the students taking to Capitol Hill is Yennifer Coca, a first-year political science major at Berea College. An immigrant herself, Coca and her father came to America five years ago "looking for better economic and educational opportunities."
"It is important to know that DACA is legal, and it is constitutional," she said. "(President) Trump's decision to cancel DACA is unlawful."
Coca has been involved with the DACA movement since she heard of its phase out in 2017, while a junior in high school. After moving to college, she heard of a group called Define American, which advocates for the rights of immigrants and refugees.
Having been to D.C. before for a high school trip, Coca says she is nervous, but hopeful that the Supreme Court Justices will make a good decision.
"I think that the judges will realize that DACA is very important and if DACA is canceled, many people are going to be affected by it," she said. "There are 700,000 DACA recipients in the US, and if DACA is canceled, families are going to be ripped apart."
She went on to add that there are 250,000 children who are American citizens that are children of DACA recipients, and if their parents are deported back to their countries, they are going to be separated.
"That is not right, that is not just, that is not correct. That is not what the US is about," she told The Register Friday. "I am hopeful, I think the judges will realize that keeping DACA is the right thing to do."
While a decision won't be made until closer to spring, Coca said she and her peers will remain hopeful that the judges will continue to make the right decision.
"The U.S. is our home, your citizenship status shouldn't determine that. For instance, many DACA recipients have been living in the United States for most of their lives, so this is their home. This is the place they have known since they have been here," Coca said plainly.
For more information on DACA or Define American, reach out to https://defineamerican.com/.
Reach Taylor at 624-6623; follow on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.