Harvard's DACA students fear an immigration plan that could punish their parents and families

Campaign Action

Blanca Morales, Dalia Larios, Alma Oñate and and Anthony Tucker-Bartley are the American Dream. Their immigrant parents worked two or three jobs as farm workers, landscapers, appliance technicians, and caregivers to give them a better life. Today, the four are students at the prestigious Harvard Medical School, pursuing paths to become doctors. But, their lives are in limbo. They are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, and because Donald Trump is holding them hostage unless he gets his white supremacist immigration wish list, both their families and future could be at risk:

For Morales, DACA gave her the courage to chase her dream and win a place at the nation’s top medical school, as ranked by US News & World Report. She’d graduated college seven years earlier and done a variety of jobs, including as a Mary Kay beauty consultant to make ends meet.

Throughout it all, she says, she had the unwavering support and encouragement of her mother, who developed a respiratory illness that Morales feels is linked to her work in the fields, and her father, who once sacrificed a week’s worth of groceries to buy her a calculator for calculus class.

Life got a little easier under DACA and then again at Harvard Medical School, where university President Drew Faust publicly opposed Trump’s decision last year to end DACA and Harvard Law School scholars offered to help undocumented students.

Morales and her fellow medical students found themselves in white coats that doubled as suits of armor, and with a megaphone to boot.

“That’s why I think it’s important for us, having this privilege of the white coat and the Ivy League schooling behind us, to talk about these issues,” said Oñate, who crossed the border with her family in a desperate attempt to find a doctor who could save her sister’s eyesight.

Many young immigrants and the U.S.-born kids of immigrants will commonly tell you about the courage of their parents, who left everything familiar—their language, their friends, their homes, their country—for the hope and promise of the United States. And for many of these parents, their definition of success is to see their kids succeed. But, Trump’s wish list is threatening to tear these families apart, because his proposal could put DACA recipients on a path to citizenship but throw their parents and families under the bus. That’s not a deal these young immigrants are willing to make.