By Madeleine Neal
Despite the formerly undocumented status of her immigrant father and maternal grandparents, University of Iowa sophomore Marina Jaimes said she does not agree with the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order.
President Trump announced his decision on Tuesday to revoke the program in six months; it allows certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors to temporarily avoid deportation and obtain work permits and college educations.
Jaimes, who said she does feel some sense of compassion for those who risk deportation, hopes people realize they must abide by all laws.
“My father was once an illegal immigrant, and so were my maternal grandparents — so [legal citizenship] can be done,” she said. “I think what happens … it can be harsh, but their parents made a decision, and I feel so bad that they have to face the consequences for it, but we do have laws in place, and we do have possibilities of becoming citizens.”
Jaimes said taking to the streets in protest is not the answer.
“I don’t think this is something people need to be rioting over — we have to abide by laws that were put in place — you’re not going to agree with most of them, but protesting and getting all angry over it is not going to do anything,” she said.
Instead, she hopes both sides will turn to their congressmen and congresswomen.
“I think since it [DACA] was an executive order, Congress should look at it, because we’re their constituents — they get to hear our voices,” she said. “And if people feel so strongly that DACA is something that is good for the country, people we supply our voices to [members of Congress] should have to vote on it legally and not have an executive pen — an order that does not get support from Congress.”
In a statement released by the office of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, he, too, criticized DACA for being created without congressional oversight or approval.
“Any legislative solution is going to have to be a compromise that addresses the status of those who have been unlawfully brought to this country and upholds the rule of law,” Grassley said. “President Trump should continue to work with Congress to pass reforms through the legislative process that encourage lawful immigration.”
The office of Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, released a statement that, too, acknowledged the role Congress could play in reforming immigration laws.
“America has been and always will be a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws,” Ernst said. “As I have stated many times before, we must show compassion toward these children.”
While Ernst said she does not support giving undocumented children citizenship, a system must be put in place to follow what she called a measured approach that addresses the the affected people’s unique situation while respecting the importance of U.S. immigration laws and continuing to discourage illegal immigration.
“It is now incumbent upon Congress to act. We have an opportunity to solve this issue, work to secure the border,” she said. “And modernize the legal immigration system.”