The OC Voice is a portion of the OC Report newsletter where local residents may have a platform to talk about local issues they care about. Graig Meyer is the State Representative for House District 50, covering portions of Orange and Durham Counties. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love helping young people pursue their dreams. Prior to entering the legislature, I spent sixteen years running the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program. Over that time period, 97.5 percent of our students graduated from high school and went on to post-secondary education. It felt like we were fulfilling dreams every single day.
Unfortunately, there was a small group of those bright and talented young people who bought into the American Dream with their whole hearts, but whom America has yet to fully embrace. These students did their best to live up to the promise that if you do well in school and stay out of trouble, you can be anything you want to be in the United States. And although the young people have done their part, the United States has deferred their dream because they are undocumented immigrants.
Dreams deferred are broken dreams. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was an executive order expanded by President Barack Obama in 2014. It offered 787,580 young Americans — 60,000 in North Carolina alone — the promise of living the American dream by providing them with work permits, drivers' licenses and relief from deportation.
A Center For American Progress analysis finds that the average DACA recipient arrived in the United States in 1999, when they were just 7 years old. And more than one-third of DACA recipients, 37 percent, arrived before age 5. When hundreds gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday as the Court heard oral arguments in a case that asks whether Trump has adequately explained why he wants to end DACA and chanted “Home is here,” it’s because most dreamers know no other country as home.