In recent history, the issue of immigration regulation has been hotly debated throughout the world. In Europe, it’s been disputed due to strings of terrorist acts, yet in the US, immigration is a point of contention due to President Trump and his attitude towards undocumented residents. During President Obama’s second term, legislation was passed to create DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which granted minors who had been illegally brought into the country a period of amnesty in which they would not be deported and were eligible for a work permit.
President Trump is decidedly against the policy. One of his campaign promises was that he would do away with DACA on “day one”. Recently, he rescinded the policy and gave Congress six months to come up with a solution. When I was doing my preliminary research for this article, I had a hard time finding any arguments for this action, other than the President’s statement. According to Trump, ten states sued over this policy, which brought its legality into question within his administration. The question that we face now is this: Was this the right choice? The short answer: yes. DACA, in my personal opinion, was a moral and just legislation. The only issue is that it was a temporary fix. Trump’s decision to give a deadline was a way of pushing Congress to a conclusion, which is exactly what they need to get anything done.
Personally, I think that the program is a boon to American society. My reasoning is twofold: ethically, this was the right thing to do, and it potentially bolsters the workforce by 800,000 dedicated citizens. This was the correct moral decision, as the children were given no choice as to whether or not they should come, and they do not deserve the consequences of actions they did not have any say in. The other reason being that a volume of 800k potential workers is a double-edged sword, yet I stand by the beneficial effects of it. The positive outcome is, as stated before, a stronger workforce. Despite this, they are 800,000 people, each with a chance- not a definitive likelihood- of becoming productive members of society. So, now that the Dreamers, as they’re known, are adults, what do we do with them? In my eyes, the solution is simple and effective: if the Dreamers have become naturalized, taxpaying members of the US, they may stay. There is no reason to kick them out, as they’ve come so far. Conversely, If a Dreamer does not pay taxes, is not part of the workforce, and/or is not a citizen of the US, it may be time for them to go.
When I asked Government and Politics teacher Mrs. Dell’Elmo, a vocal and reputable source on current events, about DACA and the Dreamers, she provided some extra insight. The following questions and answers are paraphrased in the interest of brevity and clarity.
How has DACA affected you or those close to you?
“DACA does not affect me — directly — but it does indirectly affect me in that expiration date of the protections granted to Dreamers may very well affect my students, past and present.”
Do you think President Trump’s recent deadline for Congressional action will create a bipartisan solution?
“My faith in the institution of Congress leads me to say that this issue and the implications of legislative inaction will compel members of Congress to finally reach across the aisle and work together on a resolution.”
Do you think that a Dreamer will be deported, even if they are a taxpaying citizen, should there be no solution?
“If there is no solution rendered by Congress, President Trump indicated (via Twitter) that he would reconsider the measure in March. I hope Congress acts by then, but if they do not, my hope is that President Trump does revisit the measure and decides on a different approach.”
With all that being said, the future seems bright for DACA and the Dreamers. Congress has their deadline, which will undoubtedly push them to come up with a solution. If they cannot, President Trump’s reconsideration come March will reassure that something will be done for the Dreamers. I have nothing but optimism for the fate of the Dreamers, and I hope that putting my faith in Congress will not disappoint me. If they do, however… it won’t be the first time.