As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments surrounding President Obama’s executive orders on immigration, known as expanded DACA (DACA+) and DAPA, Define American will be sharing the stories of undocumented immigrants who would either be able to seek temporary deportation relief under one of the two programs currently frozen by the court system, and those who are afforded the same protections under DACA. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children limited benefits including temporary deportation relief and work authorization. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) grants the same benefits to the parents of U.S. citizens. Neither are a pathway to citizenship. The Supreme Court will hold a hearing on DACA+ and DAPA on April 18, with a decision expected sometime in June. With a lack of action in Congress, the executive orders are currently the only national immigration efforts in motion.
Aly Wane, Age 39 – Arrived in the U.S. as a child in 1985 from France and was born in Dakar, Senegal. Aly Wane currently lives in Syracuse, New York, and is an established community organizer. He originally came to the U.S. as the son of a diplomat that worked at the United Nations. He eventually traded his diplomat visa for a student visa and completed his studies with a B.A. in Political Science from Le Moyne College in Syracuse. He missed the age cut-off for President Obama’s initial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
What would a decision in favor of DACA+/DAPA mean for your life? It would mean that I would finally be able to make a living while continuing to contribute to this community in my capacity as an activist and an organizer.
What would a decision against DACA+/DAPA mean for your life? It would mean that I would still have to fight for the rights which I am owed inherently as a human being: rights to work and travel.
What do you want other Americans to know about what’s it’s like to be undocumented in the U.S.? It means being caught in an existential catch-22. It means being forced to work to survive, while at the same time having that work considered illegal, all the while paying taxes into a system one cannot benefit from. What is the first thing you’d do if you received DACA+/DAPA? I would try to earn enough money to apply for advanced parole in order to finally be able to travel and go to my mother’s grave in Mali, 17 years after she passed.