Why DACA Matters!

First thing’s first, knowing what DACA even is: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), was a program created by the Obama administration in 2012 for the purpose of taking extraordinary pressure off of young people who are brought to this country illegally by their parents. Under DACA, youth who enter the U.S. under these circumstances are allowed a temporary reprieve from deportation, and permission to work, study, and obtain a driver's licenses. As of 2017, approximately 800,000 individuals—referred to as Dreamers after the DREAM Act bill—were enrolled in the program created by DACA.

So why does DACA matter? According to one of our Her Campus writers, Preyah James, One of the reasons  DACA is so important is because it provides options for young people, usually in their 20's, who entered the United States before they were old enough to choose to move here; most Dreamers came to the United States before the age of 10. Many Americans believe that granting immigrants the benefits of citizenship steals jobs from native-born American workers. However, in the five years that DACA has been in place, the policy hasn't caused any negative impacts on the U.S. job market. Thanks to DACA, there has been a reduction in the number of immigrant households living in poverty. DACA has also increased the wages and labor force participation of immigrant workers, and less immigrants are dealing with severe mental health issues thanks to DACA and the opportunities it provides.

The Obama administration felt that minors brought into the U.S. illegally should not be at fault for literally existing and wanting to pursue a better life in their current surroundings. Many of the Dreamers are now working to support their children, parents, siblings, and relatives both here and back in the country of their birth. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even speak a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, college, or a driver’s license.

In the wise words of Barack Obama, “ What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.”