By Jack Davis ’19
The Brophy community gathered in the Harper Great Hall in support of DREAMers Feb. 15 at the DACA Teach- In, one component of a larger-scale effort on campus to learn and act against the repeal of DACA.
According to USCIS.gov, DACA is an American immigration policy that allows minors “who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization.”
Brophy has helped over 75 people complete applications for DACA, and roughly a dozen Brophy students currently rely on DACA to avoid deportation.
The Roundup’s Editor-in-Chief Matt Zacher ’18 was the master of ceremonies, and he gave an overview of the current deportation system. He mentioned that DACA’s constitutionality is being called into question under the current presidential administration.
Zacher followed up by discussing Brophy’s efforts to aid in the preservation of DACA, which includes selling shirts and handing out buttons to display Catholic solidarity.
Brophy President Ms. Adria Renke recognized Brophy DREAMers as our Brothers. She said that we’re called by God to love strangers, and that the US is founded by immigrants.
Brophy Principal Mr. Bob Ryan said that Brophy has stood publically with DREAMers over the last five years, despite mixed reactions from people who haven’t appreciated the cross between school and politics.
Mr. Ryan said that, ultimately, Brophy’s mission is to form men and women for others that will live for God.
Various DACA recipients around campus described their situations.
“I never thought I couldn’t become a citizen,” said Nelson Martinez ’18.
Martinez said that he constantly carries the burden of being categorized as a drug dealer and gangbanger. He was a normal child, but was never given a normal childhood.
Martinez said that when he was approved for DACA, his life changed. He even began greeting police officers.
Martinez recalled an interaction between himself and one of his friends once he gained acceptance into the program.
“Nelson, I’m glad you’re not going anywhere,” said Martinez’s friend. “I love you, man.”
Martinez encouraged the audience to support hard-working, honorable, patriotic DREAMers. He said that there are 1000s of kids similar to him that deserve to live the American dream.
Yael Balbuena ’19 said that after the 2016 Presidential election, people started treated him differently. He said that he feels that old men in suits and ties are grappling with his life.
Balbuena said that he dreams about becoming the first in his family to go to college, but has to worry about staying in the United States. However, through it all, he said that his DACA card gives him hope.
Balbuena mentioned that 800,000 kids could be affected by the coming decision.
“I’m here to represent people told they couldn’t be successful just because they weren’t born here,” he said.
Saul Rascon-Salazar ’19 immigrated to the United States in 2006.
He said that when he was given his “piece of plastic,” he felt safe enough to fly on a plane and even took a trip to Camden, NJ.
Now, Rascon-Salazar said that he fears deportation–and that his joy and privileges have been snatched.
Rascon-Salazar was a part of a coalition of Brophy students that visited Washington D.C. to discuss their status with politicians. He said that the group was met with mixed reactions.
Zacher concluded the night by encouraging the audience to phone their congressmen before DACA is set to expire on March 5.