The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was a piece of legislature in the United States that makes provisions for a number of individuals who entered the country as minors, and who were in good standing, to seek deferment and protection from deportation of illegals. The aim of DACA was to give those who were brought into the country illegally as children a certain level of protection against being deported since they had no say or control over where they ended up living.
“As of 2017, approximately 800,000 individuals were enrolled in the program created by DACA. The policy was established by the Obama Administration in June 2012 and plans to begin phasing it out were initiated by the Trump Administration in September 2017” (Wikipedia).
To be eligible for the program, recipients may not have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records. There is no evidence that individuals covered by DACA are more likely to commit crimes than the general population of the United States.
The terms and specifics of DACA have always caused a certain degree of controversy and there have always been those who were opposed to the idea from the start. Because of the ongoing controversy and debate there has been a lot of focus and research given in regards to the program. The research has shown that DACA was instrumental in giving these individuals a better life and helped with the increase in wages and labor force participation for the immigrants and it also helped to reduce the number of those individuals who are stuck living in poverty. “Studies have also shown that DACA increased the mental health outcomes for DACA-eligible immigrants and their children. There are no known major adverse impacts from DACA on native-born workers’ employment, and most economists say that DACA benefits the U.S. economy” (Wikipedia).
Public Reaction to DACA
According to the New York Times, Democrats and some Republicans, business executives, college presidents and immigration activists condemned the repeal as a coldhearted and shortsighted effort that was unfair to the young immigrants and could harm the economy.
Former President Obama condemned the repeal as “cruel” and wrote:
They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license… Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us… Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.
The reaction was mixed among Republicans. In a released statement, Senator McCain said:
“I strongly believe that children who were illegally brought into this country through no fault of their own should not be forced to return to a country they do not know. The 800,000 innocent young people granted deferred action under DACA over the last several years are pursuing degrees, starting careers, and contributing to our communities in important ways. While I disagreed with President Obama’s unilateral action on this issue, I believe that rescinding DACA at this time is an unacceptable reversal of the promises and opportunities that have been conferred to these individuals.”
Where We Go From Here
The debate still rages on and as badly as we may wish for it there sees to be no end in sight. So we continue on, fighting to protect the rights of those who look to us in their time of need and continue to walk the fine line of trying to please both sides in this hotly debated issue. Where we will be in 5 years or 10 years is anyone’s guess but there will still be those impacted by DACA that will need these regulations and assistance to live their American dream. The future is uncertain but as long as there are those who are willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves we can continue being a great nation indeed.