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Ohio ‘Dreamers’ and local leaders call on Congress to act in support of DACA

An Ohio State alumnus and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient led a local effort by community leaders Tuesday to call on Congress to protect children of immigrants — often referred to as “Dreamers” — in a press conference at the Ohio State House.

Elvis Saldias, an Ohio State graduate now working for Nationwide Insurance, joined local leaders such as Ohio Dominican University President Dr. Robert Gervasi in public support for legislation to protect those enrolled in DACA.  

The federal program that protects undocumented immigrants who arrived as children is to sunset in March, the Trump Administration announced Sept. 5. President Trump has recently pushed Congress to pass legislation protecting DACA recipients, but it is unclear if it will do so.

“If there is no action taken by Congress, in a little less than six months, statuses will start expiring,” Saldias said. “As a young professional, it makes it hard to plan for the future.”

Saldias said DACA was an integral part in helping him attend Ohio State. He said it meant access for him.

“At the time I was applying, they were trying to treat me as an out-of-state student because of my status,” Saldias, who grew up and attended high school in Ohio, said. “That’s hard to pay for when you’re poor and your parents are immigrants. [DACA] helped me get in-state tuition.”

Ohio State Alumnus and DACA recipient Elvis Saldias spoke during a press conference Tuesday calling for Ohio Congress to protect ‘Dreamers.’ Credit: Zach Varda | Lantern reporter

Saldias said DACA not only helped him receive in-state tuition but also meant he could do things as simple as getting a driver’s license, which he said allowed for him to get around and go out to bars with friends.

Gervasi said when his grandparents arrived as immigrants, they were the target of ethnic slurs, just as he was subject to growing up.

“Undocumented and illegal meant unwanted and unrecognized,” Gervasi said.

“Despite our radical commitment as a nation to ‘e pluribus unum,’ as humans, we are afraid of people that are different.” Gervasi said, referencing the motto “out of many, one” that is on the dollar bill.

Gervasi said taking away DACA puts many people at risk, while also diminishing the law. He referenced Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” in calling for action.

“If we really want to make America great again, then let’s key in on what made America great in the first place,” he said. “We welcome all people who want to commit themselves to this great experiment.”

Saldias said he did not feel betrayed by the government and was thankful for the opportunity to call on Congress to act. Of the two bills recently introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, Saldias said the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act was the better choice.

“The DREAM Act is the best outcome for us as ‘Dreamers,’” Saldias said. “It provides a path to citizenship.”

6 comments

  1. Why glorify and reward the fact that for years they and their parents have been breaking our laws and committing theft? The theft of a scholarship, the theft of a job, the theft from our healthcare and social programs, the theft of a slot on the soccer team, the theft of an internship, the theft of a seat in a classroom, the theft of a residency, the theft from taxpayers for things like ESL classes, etc., etc., etc.; all taken from U.S. citizens.

    • Theft? Why do you think that someone is entitled to a scholarship, job, place on a soccer team etc., simply based on where s/he was born? Have some personal accountability. Stop blaming others because you weren’t good enough to get that job or win that scholarship.

      • So you believe it’s ok for someone to walk in to where they don’t belong and take what they are not entitled to? You think it’s ok for an illegal who’s home country is 1000s of miles away to get in state tuition without proof of residency yet an American can’t? You think it’s ok for an illegal to get accepted into college over an equally qualified American just because it allows for checking of some PC diversity box? Same for scholarships, internships, medical residencies and jobs? You think it’s ok for a public University to to use public funds to fund specific scholarships for “dreamers”. You think it’s ok for illegals to swamp our elementary and high schools, crowding our classrooms and lowering our standard of education for American children? You think it’s ok for school systems to have to pay millions of taxpayor dollars on ESL teachers and classes taking away funding that could go to other programs? I could go on, but these things happen every day. When someone takes something that is not theirs, or that they are not entitled to, it is theft, plain and simple.

  2. It is great to see young people becoming engaged in the political process. DREAM Act and other immigration policies will help some, but as a nation will need to push further for comprehensive reform of the immigration, and more generally, Justice Department policies. President Reagan’s administration and the Congress were able to pass a policy that opened doors for many to attend school, work, and live as families.
    The notion that folks don’t pay taxes when here must stop coming up, it is not factual!!
    The notion that anyone stole jobs or other opportunities must come to a stop, it is just not true!!
    If you want to go historic, most of the wealth and gains by the US majority class have been stolen in one way or another, through annexing northern Mexico, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Chinese Exclusion laws, or Indian Relocation Acts, and many other public policies. Even now, unemployment and poverty are unevenly distributed by categories of people through public and private policies that benefit the US majority class.
    So who really is stealing from people? US Corporations, Public Policies of segregation, and other socio-economic factors that maintain unearned privilege for the US majority class should gather peoples’ angst, not the huddled masses.

    Liberation not Deportation, keep families together!!

  3. Since this guy has had time to graduate college and get a job at Nationwide, has he become a citizen or at least started the process?

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