DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. According to Fox News, there are hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States under the age of eighteen. Almost 800,000 of them utilize the program. DACA prevents these people from being immediately deported. These recipients, dubbed ‘dreamers,’ were then able to request of ‘consideration of deferred action’ for up to two years, but did not provide legality. This was subject to renewal. This program was introduced by Barack Obama in 2012.
Last September, President Donald Trump proposed to shut the program down, with a six-month delay of the deportation of the recipients. Since then, it has received both backlash and support across the nation. If DACA was permanently abolished, thousands of jobs could be lost, according to Tom K. Wong’s National DACA Survey. In 2016, 356 DACA participants enlisted in the U.S. Military, and now it’s unclear if the army will continue to accept dreamers.
Then, on February 13th, a federal judge decreed that those who are already using the program could continue using the protections, but did not guarantee the right for new recipients to be in the program.
I think that a lot of people who have opinions on this issue don’t know the full story- they think that DACA ensures dreamers to not be immediately deported. However, this is not the case. Dreamers have to request a consideration- according to Brookings, more than 600,000 people applied for this program through June of 2013, only 72% were accepted.
A study done by Cato Institute states that the rate of immigration has actually not had an effect on the rate of unemployment, which is an argument often used by those supporting deporting illegal immigrants. If you focus on the time before World War I- when drafting was not a factor- you’ll see that the time where unemployment was highest were also the times that where immigration was the lowest. This doesn’t mean that immigrants make unemployment go down, it means that immigrants come in times of economic growth.
In many parts of the world, prejudice against certain religions and races are much stronger than in the U.S. In a lot of these cases, these prejudices can lead to persecution and violence. Those who face these challenges deserve an escape- and if that escape is the United States, we should give them that much. As Americans, we are fortunate to have the Constitution and our government generally on our side, but many, many people are in the exact opposite situation.
Other areas don’t have as many resources as we do, either; natural disasters can be extremely hard to recover from. These can leave people injured or in poverty. Many countries have a continual cycle that is hard to get out of- once you’re in poverty, you and your descendants are usually stuck. Many immigrants come to the United States either to try and work their way out of their financial rut or try and give their children or descendants the resources to do it for themselves.
When people come to the United States illegally, in the vast majority of the time it is not for a frivolous reason. As humans, we all deserve certain things; liberty, independence, and the ability to sustain ourselves. When those are taken away, as humans, people deserve to gain them back. In America, we may not be ideal, but we are beneficial in many different ways. We owe each other the benefit of the doubt and the opportunities that we have ourselves.
DACA is an amazing program that allows minors to stay in the U.S., as opposed to being deported to a country to which they may not be familiar. Taking this away would be inhumane and selfish. Everyone deserves equal chances, and DACA helps provide that. Immigrants are just like any other American- hard-working and hopeful for the future.