One of the most controversial decisions from the Trump administration in recent weeks has been rescinding (or trying to rescind, maybe?) the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, program. DACA provides 884,661 undocumented teens and young adults with protection from deportation and economic opportunities. DACA does not offer citizenship, but does give permission for recipients of the program to apply for work permits, bank accounts, credit cards, etc. This would a major mistake, not just because of the continuing anti-immigrant policies of the administration, but also the impact on the economy.
DACA recipients, also called “Dreamers”, have made a significant economic impact since President Obama signed DACA into effect in 2012. According to Newsweek, after being accepted into the program, Dreamers see an average hourly wage increase to $17.46 from $10.26 when undocumented. 72% were in higher education and nearly 80% acquired a driver’s license. According to a study done by the Immigration Policy Center just a year after the program was put in place, 61% of applicants got their first job. 54% opened their first bank account. 38% got their first credit card. And the numbers have only climbed since 2013, with the number of Dreamers rising every year by the hundreds of thousands. The overwhelming majority of Dreamers are productive members of society that we should be building upon, not demolishing and deporting.If DACA were to be discontinued 6 months from now, all Dreamers could be immediately deported. That would be no small cost, according to Newsweek losing DACA would lose the U.S. a total of $460 billion in GDP over the next decade. Not to mention the 700,000 jobs at risk over that time period as well. For a ‘jobs candidate’, you think it would be a top priority for the President to keep around a program that brings in anywhere from 150,000-400,000 potential workers annually (Year-by-year numbers). However, DACA has been used as a bargaining chip to get the minority Democrats to budge on other stalemates in Congress. It is a misuse of a blooming program that represents what the United States has been built on, immigrants looking for a new start and the hard working middle class consumer.
Berman, Russell. “Trump Reverses His Stand on DACA.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 14 Sept. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/daca-deal-or-no-deal-trump-democrats-dreamers/539784/. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.
“DACA Performance Data.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 8 June 2017.
Glum, Julia. “These 15 statistics will teach you what you need to know about DACA.” Newsweek, 5 Sept. 2017, www.newsweek.com/dreamers-daca-statistics-trump-deadline-657201. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.
Gonzales, Roberto G., and Veronica Terriquez. “How DACA is Impacting the Lives of those who are now DACAmented: Preliminary findings from the National UnDACAmented Research Project.” Immigration Policy Center, Aug. 2013.
Kopan, Tal. “DACA decision appears to shift to Congress.” CNN, Cable News Network, 5 Sept. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/09/04/politics/daca-congress-trump-decision/index.html. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.