So, Why Is DACA's Rescindment Such a Big Deal?
Here’s where I drop the carefully researched statistics and try, in this inhuman time, to be human. We’ve all seen the little newsflashes—you know, the automatic notifications from the Apple News app we’re all too lazy to turn off and never really consider—and received the emails urging us to Call your senator, call your representatives, make your voices heard! The rescindment of DACA by the Trump Administration is not the kind of issue I can write a school newspaper article about and say I’ve made a contribution to the narrative. Real, hard-hitting press syndicates on all sides of the political spectrum are doing that with all kinds of ethos, logos, and pathos.
Instead, here’s what I can offer you: a couple hundred words on my understanding of what DACA looks like—really looks like, as separate from the politics as is (im)possible—in my immediate community.
DACA’s Repeal: The Basics
In August of 2012, the Obama administration administered a program which would come to affect the lives of nearly 790,000 young undocumented immigrants  in the United States—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The program did not provide recipients with legal status, but rather enabled the government to make a formal determination not to pursue removal of undocumented individuals based on certain eligibilities and “provided certain illegal aliens who entered the United States before the age of sixteen a period of deferred action and eligibility to request employment authorization” .
Just over five years later, on September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced a plan to repeal this program and “take all appropriate actions to execute a wind-down of the program.” The Department of Homeland Security stopped accepting new applications for the DACA program on the fifth of September, and no renewals will be accepted after March 5th, 2018. As a result, former DACA recipients could lose their protection as early as March; by June of 2021, there will no more immigrants protected under DACA .
However, all of this remains vaguely conditional: in order for these projections to be made reality, Congress must fail to pass a bill in the next sixth months that protects DACA recipients.
DACA & Area Schools
According to statistics provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, over 17,000 Colorado students attend school under the protection of deferred action . Because education is so directly a part of DACA, many educational organizations have addressed the news of DACA’s rescindment in their own statements.
As of March of 2017, (before the Trump administration announced its decision to rescind DACA) the Boulder Valley School District committed to never asking for a child’s immigration status upon enrollment, stating that “public school districts like BVSD have an obligation to enroll students regardless of their immigration status and without discrimination.” Additionally, according to a FAQ released by Superintendent Dr. Bruce K. Messinger, “if [BVSD] became aware of a student’s lack of immigration status, [they] would not share that information with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services” . Denver Public Schools released a number of similar statements in direct response to President Trump’s actions on the DACA program, most notably from Superintendent Tom Boasberg:
“President Trump’s decision to end DACA is shortsighted, heartless and harmful. Our DACA students and educators have tremendous capacity, potential and desire to contribute to our community. Many of them are students and graduates who have spent almost their entire lives in the Denver Public Schools, and we as a community have invested greatly in them and their potential. We know these young people, we welcome and respect them, and we will do all we can to right this wrong” .
Even institutions of higher education, such as the University of Colorado system, have issued statements regarding DACA. CU’s four campuses comprise the largest college in Colorado, an organization which has spoken out in support of DACA recipients and undocumented students. A joint communication from Bruce Benson (the president of the CU system) and the chancellors of each of the four campuses stated the following:
“We have engaged Colorado’s Congressional delegation to urge them to take action to allow DACA students to continue to study and work beyond march at the University of Colorado and at universities around the country… DACA students are valued and important members of the CU community. They enrich our university, inspire us with their commitment to their education and to their futures, and enhance the diversity that makes CU strong… We will continue to stand with our students and work to ensure they can pursue the education that will benefit them and our country” .
Interview: DACA from the Perspective of an Immigration Lawyer
Nicole A. Murad Rothstein, Esq.
While researching for this article, I had the opportunity to sit down with Nicole Rothstein, an immigration attorney with Murad & Murad Immigration Attorneys of Boulder, Colorado. She works primarily on removal defense and has a great deal of insight into how DACA’s rescindment impacts the area.
“[DACA’s rescindment] will affect the schools because kids who might have a future to go to college will no longer have that ability in many instances. It affects people’s morale, which then affects the schools. Without DACA, it does hinder our options and what we can do for people.”
“One of the reasons we need DACA and the DREAM Act is that there is no other option for these kids. And when people say, ‘Why didn’t they just get legal status ten years ago?’ or, ‘Why don’t they just get in line?’, what they don’t understand is that for most of these kids there’s actually no line for them to get into and no process for them to start. [DACA] was the process, and now it’s being taken away.”
She emphasizes the impossible lengths of any possible line: “Even if you’re lucky enough to have a United States Citizen family member or spouse who can file for you and you’re a high school kid, there’s an extremely long wait time. Your sibling, say, could file something for you today, and the wait time for that is about twenty-one years. So there’s no option; for someone who’s sixteen or seventeen years old, it’s a lifetime that bypasses the time they need to study or graduate school.”
Her firm, which works primarily in courts on removal defense—often volunteering their time to help clients—is working to help families maintain hope despite the significant lack of legal options presented by current immigration policy. “There’s a huge increase in desperation. We really feel a call to action to help people stay positive in this really awful environment. If you’re a teenager and you’ve had this work authorization or you’ve had these goals to go to college and all of a sudden that’s ripped away, it causes a lot of desperation among the children and the families. In many cases, there hasn’t been anything that we can actually do right now, but what we can do is give people a little bit of hope because it isn’t the end.”
Finally, Ms. Rothstein urges everyone to act as a beacon of hope for those affected by such policy changes. “There’s hope and a lot of push that we need to continue to give Congress to pass reform and the DREAM Act. There’s a lot more people that are very nervous about their situation, and it’s just important for them to feel like they can go somewhere and they have a resource. We’re really in a time of a lot of hostility towards immigrants; as much as we can in these difficult times, [we must] spread positivity and welcoming attitudes toward people. A lot of individuals are feeling very unwelcome and scared, and they don’t know who they can trust and who they can’t. As much as you can spread a message to high school students to share that kindness, I think it’s important.”
 Krogstad, Jens Manuel. “DACA has shielded nearly 790,000 young unauthorized immigrants from deportation.” Pew Research Center, 1 Sept. 2017, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/01/unauthorized-immigrants-covered-by-daca-face-uncertain-future/.
 Memorandum from Elaine C. Duke, Secretary, DHS, to James W. McCament, Dir., USCIS, et al., “Memorandum on Rescission Of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA).” 5 Sept. 2017, https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/09/05/memorandum-rescission-daca.
 Lind, Dara. “Trump just turned DACA into a ticking time bomb for 800,000 immigrants.” Vox.com, 5 Sept. 2017, https://www.vox.com/2017/9/5/16252648/trump-daca-end-deadline.
 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Dept. of Homeland Security. DACA Performance Data. USCIS, 2012-2017, https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/All%20Form%20Types/DACA/daca_performancedata_fy2017_qtr2.pdf.
 Messinger, Bruce K. “Providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students.” Superintendent's Blog by Dr. Bruce K. Messinger. Boulder Valley School District, 20 Mar. 2017, http://bvsdsuperintendent.blogspot.com/2017/03/providing-high-quality-education-for.html.
 Boasberg, Tom. “Statement from the Superintendent about DACA.” Dpsk12.org, Denver Public Schools, 5 Sept. 2017, https://www.dpsk12.org/statement-from-the-superintendent-about-daca/.
 Benson, Bruce (Pres.), et al. “Message from CU leadership regarding DACA program.” Cu.edu, University of Colorado, 5 Sept. 2017, http://www.cu.edu/message-cu-leadership-regarding-daca-program-update.