On November 12th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the legality of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Program. DACA is an immigration option for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before the age of 16. Although it does not provide a pathway to lawful permanent residence, it does provide temporary protection from deportation, work authorization, and the ability to apply for a social security number.
Below is a written response by one DACA teen living in Kansas about why he needs to get a work authorization. He was brought to the U.S. as a 9-year-old when his parents moved to the U.S. to be able to provide enough food and education for their five children. They have had another child since moving to the U.S.
“I want a work permit because I want to help my parents out. I see that they struggle a lot especially since there’s six children in our family. I want to be able to help pay the bills and take some weight off their backs. It’s hard for my parents to keep food on our table. Some days I go to bed hungry. I want to give my little brother and little sister a better life style than the one I lived. That’s why I want a permit.
I also have crooked teeth. They overlap and they don’t match with each other when I eat. I went to the dentist four times this year. That’s why my expenses are so high. The dentist says I really need braces. There’s no way my parents can afford that. This is why I want my work permit so my parents don’t have to worry about another bill.
I also want a permit because I want to go to college and study to be an architect. I know my parents won’t be able to help out. I want to work so I can save and go to my dream college, Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS.”
His dreams mirror the dreams of many young people who have fled violence and climate disaster to make a life of peace in the United States.