Time Is Running Out For Dreamers

Time Is Running Out For Dreamers

Negotiations continue to be discussed for the future of DACA.

On Thursday, December 21st, Congress completed its discussions for the year. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA, was not made part of them.

The program protected eligible immigrant youth that entered the country as minors, ensuring that they could work and would shield them from deportation so long as they were students, high school graduates, or veterans, and maintained a clean record. In September, the Trump administration announced plans to rescind these protections, permitting only a six-month window for renewal, and then instituting a more formal repeal.

While the window was intended to ensure that no permits would expire before March, more than 20,000 recipients have been unable to or have not submitted for renewal. This amounts to an average of 122 recipients losing protections each day.

While primarily liberal lawmakers claimed that they would not support ending the year without finding a resolution for the continuation of DACA, the clock has seemingly run out. In their frustration over this, a reported “31-member group of House and Senate Democrats walked off the House floor Thursday afternoon and headed across the Capitol to Schumer’s office,” in hopes of “pressuring him to persuade more senators to vote against the GOP spending plan that was set to be approved in the coming hours.” The most that was achieved was the sentiment that there would be a push to vote against the repeal later this month, when discussions are set to continue.

Without a definite replacement program in place, it is likely that with the passing of time, the amount of protection lost will only increase. Negotiations were set to occur during the holiday break, wherein solutions were weighed, such as “pairing a DACA fix with conservative asks like border security, interior enforcement and some elements of immigration reform.” Senate leader Mitch McConnell pledged to “call a bill to the floor if the working group can reach a deal that’s acceptable to both sides.” Overarchingly, Democrats are mostly looking to send a message about continuing negotiations in January. Lost time cannot be afforded.

In a brief, but resounding quote, Representative Tony Cardenas of Los Angeles told Senator Schumer that “Latino lawmakers expect ‘no more mañanas’ when it comes to immigration.” This was echoed by the statement, “We’ve seen more mañanas on things related to immigration from the House and Senate for more than a decade. We’re tired of it.”

The decision is yet to be made, and it doesn’t do well to forget about it. DACA has been and should continue to be a system of well-deserved aid for the undocumented.

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Thirteen Ways Of Looking At The Boston Marathon Bombing

The Boston Bombing from different perspectives.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Boston Marathon Bombing.


I

Her sneakers slapped the pavement

as the cheers drew closer and closer.

She took a left on Boylston,

her heart beating as fast as her feet.

The finish line was just in reach,

But then came an explosion-


II

He waited eagerly along the finish line,

tippy toes and all.

Waiting to see his dad run by.

The bombs went off before that though,

and the little boy never saw his father

finish the marathon.


III

He broke the ribbon,

claiming first place.

That joy was short lived,

for a little while later

Life as he knew it shattered into a million pieces.


IV

Another Marathon Monday,

another day of chaos.

Though this much chaos the officer did not expect,

until the bomb went off,

and all hell broke loose in Beantown.


V

For the tenth year in a row

she came to watch her best friend run.

For the last time

she watched while standing on two feet.

Before her friend made it to the finish,

her right leg was blown off.

All that was left was a bloody stump.


VI

They stood behind a table

handing cups of water to runners

as they raced by.

Soon, the fleet of runners abruptly ceased-

The marathon was stopped

because of a terrorist attack.


VII

She sat upon her daddy’s shoulders

like a bird at its perch,

waiting to see her mommy run by.

She excitedly waved to mommy,

and then boom-

She couldn’t find mommy,

who was somewhere in the crowd of people,

screaming, crying, confused.


VIII

He couldn’t do it.

He couldn’t help everybody.

Twenty two years on the force,

and nothing like this had ever happened before.

A terrorist attack in his beloved city.

It shook him to the core-


IX

She finished the marathon

with her best time yet.

Overjoyed, she set off towards the crowds

to look for her fiance.

Simultaneously, they reached out to embrace,

just as the backpack laying a few feet away

exploded with no warning.

Their lives would never be the same again.


X

Boylston Street was a sea of runners,

as it always was this day.

He would soon realize

today was not like every other Marathon Monday.

A lone wolf escaped the crowd of onlookers,

and then something exploded amidst the crowd.


XI

The call she would never forget.

There was a bombing at the finish line,

motives thought to be terrorism.

The screams of agony,

the blood, the limbs.

The shock, the confusion,

the lifeless body of a little boy.


XII

The news alert popped up on my mom’s phone;

A bomb exploded at the marathon.

We did not yet know

it was much more than a bomb.

Nobody in the mall did.

I never imagined it would happen here,

but isn’t that what everyone always thinks?


XIII

I didn’t want to do it.

Tamerlan left me no choice.

And now, I must pay.

Cover Image Credit: The New York Post

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Dear Convocation: What Are You?

Are you a pulpit, a political tool, or a public space of ideas?

If you're a student at Liberty University here in Lynchburg, Virginia, you know that Convocation is nothing short of incredible. It's a dizzying experience at first, being surrounded by 13,000+ peers and staff, joining in a communal worship service, and being able to hear speakers whose names may be passed around your dinner table during school breaks.

Every residential, on-campus student attends Convo three times a week. We sit in assigned sections. At Convocation, it is a humbling experience to recognize that you are not just a student, but part of a student body, part of the body of Christ.

But a growing part of that student body is now beginning to question not just who is speaking on a said day, or what was said, but what Convocation actually is.

According to Liberty's website, Convocation is not a chapel service, despite the 15-20 minute worship held before speakers rise to the podium. This distinction allows them to host any number of diverse speakers, as Convocation "allows people from all walks of life to compel, equip, and challenge our students to think clearly and with conviction."

Guests at Convo are chosen by “relevance,” and if the speaker happens to “possess a message that will contribute to pivotal cultural conversations that stretch both the hearts and minds of our students, faculty, and staff.”

In these past few years, however, it's not been hard to find students in the halls or at the gym or simply walking down University Boulevard and hear them dreading yet "another political Convo" and "another pastor selling a book," or squealing, "I can't believe so-in-so said that!"

That's not to say that these kinds of speakers are featured prevalently at our school—but they come often enough that we notice and make memes like the brilliant millennials we are. As far as political Convos go, it's no secret that our school president, Jerry Falwell Jr., supported and continues to support now-U.S. President Donald Trump.

But just how much of that support trickles into our Convocation remains to be seen, as right-wing commentators, journalists, and Trump Campaign affiliates have often been under the Convocation spotlight.

What pains me personally about Convo, however, is that last semester, (including those in panels and grouped speakers) only 22% of all Convocation speakers were women. Only 30% of female speakers spoke unaccompanied. While it is uncommon, and in many cases unheard of for women to speak with authority from a Christian pulpit, Convocation is clearly defined as separate from Chapel.

Considering that the majority of undergrads at Liberty are women, this poses a interesting question: If Convocation is not Chapel, then what is it, and do the same traditional criterion of the pulpit also apply to Convo?

An initial response may very well be, no, of course not; we've had speakers all the way from Social Democrat Bernie Sanders to Republican Ted Cruz and his presidential bid in 2015, from Christine Caine and her "Propel Women" initiative, to the Robertson family of the A&E reality show, Duck Dynasty.

However, if that truly were the case, then why do these numbers exist in 2017? Why is the ratio of female speakers to male speakers so unequal?

Dear Convocation, what are you?

This is not to say that male speakers are unable to teach, preach, or persuade female students at Liberty; rather, this is a matter of representation. Of the percentage aforementioned, only 33% of female speakers were of color, compared to an even more disappointing 23% of the male speakers.

In the world of #blacklivesmatter, #metoo, or #timesup, where does Convocation fit in?

If Convocation is not Chapel, if it is meant to enrich our college experience by exposing us to diverse and culturally relevant speakers in order for us "Champions for Christ" to better engage with the world around us…why are those beautiful and powerful and culturally-relevant discussions on fighting racism, domestic abuse, sexism, why are they so few and far between? The voices we hear matter.

Dear Convocation, are you a pulpit, a political tool, or a public space of ideas?

Let me know when you've figured it out. In the meantime, I'll go find my seat in section 101, and I am looking forward to what this new semester will bring.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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