BY CHRISTOPHER KERR | September 5, 2018
Today marks one year since the Trump Administration initiated the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Congress has yet to act in response to this decision and the federal court decisions have left recipients uncertain about the program’s future.
To reflect on the impact that this anniversary has for those most deeply impacted, we have selected a few quotations from DACA recipients in our network of Jesuit universities, high schools, parishes, and other ministries. Their desire to make a difference in our country is inspiring—but do we value this desire?
“That’s my dream: to make a difference in people’s lives.”
These are good words to live by, especially if you are training to be a doctor. Rosa Aramburo graduated from Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine this past June. She was one of five undocumented graduates, all who entered Stritch soon after it became the first medical school in the country to publicly accept undocumented students in 2014.
Despite Rosa graduating from medical school and seeking to “make a difference,” our country continues to distance itself from the contributions that men and women like her seek to make.
“On September 5, 2017, DACA was rescinded, sending me and thousands of other people into an uncertain future,” said Nelson Martinez, a recent graduate of Brophy College Preparatory School, in Phoenix, Arizona.
There is so much good in our nation, can’t we find the moral will to respond to the reality of this “uncertain future?” Martinez seeks to attend college, study hard, and contribute to his community — shouldn’t we value that?
“I see the U.S. as my home, my community, my people, my peers,” said Belsy Garcia Manrique, who, like Rosa, seeks a medical degree from Loyola University Chicago. Earlier this year, Belsy’s father was deported to Guatemala after many years in the U.S., leaving Belsy and two college-age sisters in the U.S. Belsy’s father, Felix, was an integral part of his family and deeply desired to see Belsy graduate from medical school.
Don’t we seek to be a “home” where those who seek to better their lives and that of their family can feel welcome?
“I want to continue fighting for what I believe is right, fighting for the betterment of our country, especially for those who are brown, who are undocumented,” said José Cabrera, a 2018 graduate of Xavier University.
Maybe this should be the call to action we each heed, “fighting for the betterment of our country,” one that welcomes the contributions of many and builds an American immigration system suited to today’s realities.
Many people have questioned the greatness of our country in recent times. There are hundreds of thousands of young people living in uncertainty in our country who truly desire to make a positive difference — shouldn’t we value that?
Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.