Immigration is a controversial topic to begin with, but even more so now with President Trump’s recent move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
DACA, former President Obama’s deportation deferral program for DREAMers, or undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children, has given roughly 800,000 people deportation relief since it was enacted in June 2012. It also allowed recipients to obtain valid driver’s licenses, enroll in college and legally secure jobs.
Trump said Sept. 5 it was time for Congress to act.
“We will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion – but through the lawful democratic process – while at the same time ensuring that any immigration reform we adopt provides enduring benefits for the American citizens we were elected to serve,” he said. “We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling and forgotten Americans.”
Who’s to say these DACA recipients are not Americans? A portion of these people were brought to the U.S. as infants and may not be familiar with a country outside of the U.S. or even a language other than English.
Obama took to Facebook afterward to reject Trump’s decision.
“To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love,” he said. “And it is cruel.”
Trump decided no new people will be protected under the program, and those currently covered will start to lose their protection and permits on March 6, 2018.
Many questions are being asked regarding why this is occurring now and what current DACA recipients can do to prevent deportation.
In June, 11 attorneys general from conservative states Texas, Arkansas, West Virginia and Kansas threatened to sue the Trump administration unless it took steps by Sept. 5 to end DACA.
As for what current DACA recipients can do, they can only hope Congress passes a bill in the next six months that protects them, either by continuing to offer temporary protection or granting them a path to legalization.
Although Trump, in fact, promised in the first 100 days of his presidency he would revoke all of Obama’s executive actions, which was assumed to include DACA, it does not make the situation any less disheartening.
Attorney general Jeff Sessions claimed DACA denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those jobs to go to illegal aliens.
However, Sessions failed to provide any data to support this statement. In fact, there is no evidence to support it, one reason being the job market is healthy right now, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said.
The U.S. is much more than some apple pie and fireworks on the Fourth of July. Our country is built on immigrants, and our culture is a blend of them. It is saddening that we once were a saving grace for these people, and now we are taking away their opportunity for a better life.
All in all, what makes a person an American is not what is on paper. It is the shared principle that we are all created equal and have the opportunity to stand up and speak out over issues like this one.