The end of summer has brought the end of a variety of things but I want to talk about two—the end of safety in many of our coastal cities and the end of DACA. It seems as though natural disaster and social disaster has come in a pair and both are leaving the nation worried sick.
Between Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, not to mention the other hurricanes that are anticipated, lives have been lost, homes have been destroyed, and humans have showed both compassion and competition.
“Catastrophic flooding” in Houston has kept the nation on its toes. With people sending prayers and money, the local residents have been getting some relief. We saw valiant examples of everyone from the Coast Guard to local reporters to neighbors all helping to rescue all the people and animals displaced by Harvey. Sadly, we also saw some people close doors to the hurricane and flood victims, and then days later the same people, or rather person, said that those statements were untrue. Regardless of who helped immediately and who needed coaxing to join in the effort, Harvey brought the country together, something that we have not seen in nearly a year considering the current socio-political climate.
Then came the announcement to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, came and the country, for the most part, was outraged. Even many conservative congressmen urged the President to keep the program saying that we should not punish the children for their parents’ “sins.” Most DACA recipients, or Dreamers, have lived in the country since they were young children, meaning deportation would send them back to a country they have little memory or knowledge about. Additionally, all DACA recipients must go through an arduous selection process—they cannot have a criminal history and they must have a high school level education or be studying at university. Ending DACA would take away the opportunity for approximately 800,000 people to contribute to our society, especially financially. All Dreamers pay into social security and standard annual taxes—taking those taxes away from society would be economically questionable, if not detrimental.
Dreamers and supporters of DACA have all made the effort to protest the appeal, and strangely, it now seems the president is against it as well. In a tweet, he said that Dreamers have “nothing to worry about.” I, like many people am scratching my head at this apparent turn around by the president. Despite some of the ambiguity surrounding the government’s stance on DACA, many citizens seem to be showing enormous support, sharing information about how to survive what is a scary time for the Dreamers.
As the nation is beginning to recover from Harvey and is dealing with the issue of DACA’s end, a new threat is looming: Hurricane Irma. Irma, which was recently downgraded to a category three storm has hit Florida today. While most Floridians have already evacuated, some are still in the area and it seems that the confirmed death toll is currently at 25 people. It is difficult to understand how there doesn’t seem to be a mention of climate change, especially with two large hurricanes right after each other and another hurricane, Jose, on the way soon. But the silver lining is that the nation is still working together in the effort to help victims of the hurricanes.
Despite these natural disasters and this social outrage, we can see the country trying to come together, which is quite welcome after the Charlottesville riots. It’s important to be informed, to want to help, to see that despite our differences, humans are caring creatures. So, I urge you to do what you can to help those displaced, both by the hurricanes and by DACA.