YES Prep students meet YES Prep’s high academic standards while participating in extracurricular activities after school and on the weekends. In our Student Activity Series, we spotlight students who dedicate themselves to academic and extracurricular success. In this spotlight, we’ll meet Celeste Alejandra Ramirez, a junior at YES Prep Southeast.
Celeste is a YES Prep student ambassador, member of LatinX, writer for YES Prep Southeast’s newspaper, The Wizardly Times, and participant in the National Honor Society. Celeste will be the first of her family to attend college. She dreams of pursuing a career in law and combatting the unfair laws minorities face because of their accents or the color of their skin. Celeste wrote the following opinion article for The Wizardly Times. An edited version has been reprinted here with her permission.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is an immigration policy, made possible by Barack Obama, which allows certain undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States with a renewable two-year permit that also allows them work authorization. The difference between DACA and the Dream Act is that DACA is non-permanent and does not grant legal status to live in the United States. Those qualified for DACA were born on or after June 1981 and have resided in the United States since June of 2007, which means that not all undocumented immigrants qualify for this action. Some people in our country do not see the importance of DACA because they do not understand it or know those affected by it, but many students on our campus and in our community benefit from the policy.
“DACA is an opportunity and a relief. Not just for me but for my parents as well,” said Sofia Jasso, an 11th Grader. Not only does DACA give students an opportunity to work and study, but it also gives people security and satisfaction that they can attain a better life in this country.
“For students born here in the United States, the issue of deportation is a complete joke,” said Joel Velazquez, an 11th grader. “‘I hope you get deported,’ they’ll say. Or ‘I’m Mexican; don’t deport me.’ But it’s not a joke for everyone.” There are people who misunderstand the importance of DACA and do not see that these policies give opportunities to our students. Additionally, many do not realize that discrimination against undocumented students exists.
“Communities are becoming closer because there are more protests and people are being brave and letting their voices be heard,” said Mr. Gillespie, AP World History teacher. There have been protests directed by DACA students, including an event at Bucknell University where some supporters walked out of class to join the protest.
Mr. Gillespie continued, “As a businessman, Trump should reflect on how DACA benefits the economy and he should find ways to move away from deportation.” There are many differences in opinion, but it’s important to remember that we are all humans and we are all part of this country– no matter status or background. As part of this country, we must keep up with latest news on immigration and contact our representatives to share our opinions. We all must fight for equality because, after all, this is ‘the land of the free.’