What's the Deal With DACA?

On September 5, 2017 the Trump administration made the decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protected undocumented immigrants, often referred to as Dreamers, who entered the United States as children.  According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are over 800,000 immigrants approved for DACA since the Obama administration created the program in 2012.  As of right now, the Department of Homeland Security is urging these Dreamers to “prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States”, while Trump makes different claims.  According to a tweet on Trump’s official Twitter page, Dreamers have “nothing to worry about” due to the six month grace period where Congress will be given the task of replacing DACA.  But if Congress can’t find a suitable replacement, Dreamers will be left with no choice but to leave the United States and go back to the places that their families were trying to escape.

In his announcement on September 5, Jeff Sessions stated that DACA was a “crime risk” and that DACA recipients were stealing jobs from Americans.  These statements are very misleading.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states that any immigrant that has committed “a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or three or more other misdemeanor offenses” is not qualified for DACA.  So, they’re no more likely to commit a crime than the average American citizen.  Also, there is zero evidence that DACA recipients are stealing jobs from Americans.  While this is not to say that immigration has never or will ever negatively impact jobs for Americans, in the case of DACA, it hasn’t.  If anything, they have helped boost the economy and without them, the United States could actually end up losing money

While many people are appalled by Trump’s decision, calling it cruel and a slap in the face to American ideology, others are clearly in favor of this decision.  Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas, said that Dreamers should “go home and get in line”, completely disregarding the fact that many of the DACA recipients came to the United States before the age of 7, according to a 2017 National DACA Study.  It wasn’t their decision to come to the United States and they shouldn’t be forced to go back to a country that most don’t even consider to be home. The United States likes to pride itself on anyone being able to pursue the “American Dream”, but we actively deny people of this opportunity every day.  By taking away programs like DACA, the United States isn’t protecting its people; it’s attacking its own values. 

So, after all this, it’s hard not to feel a bit helpless.  But thankfully, there are a few different ways you can help! 

  • Contact the White House:  While this may seem intimidating, it’s really as simple as writing a quick letter stating why you disagree with Trump’s decision.  You can even call and leave a message if you’d like!
  • Contact Your Member of Congress:  Here is a website which lists all representatives and senators in your state.  Feel free to call them and if you can’t quite reach them, make sure to leave a message expressing how you feel.
  • Social Media:  Websites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are bigger than ever, making them the perfect place to reach out and make a difference!  Make sure to post about articles, petitions and feel free to Tweet different members of Congress! 

 

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