The Trump administration has decided to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA was first implemented during the Obama Administration on July 15, 2012.
People that came to America at a very young age were able to be excluded from prosecutorial procedures for up to two years.
A two-year work card and social security number were also granted.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is now no longer accepting requests for DACA.
“I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws,” said President Donald Trump in a statement released on Sept. 5.
Many ESU students were able to give their opinions about the removal of DACA.
Matthew Deegan, president of the College Republicans, said, “As far as removing the executive order that is DACA, I have to say, I approve of removing the executive order because immigration policy is left up to congress to pass. Whether it was Trump or anybody else who would have removed it, I agree with removing the executive order that got rid of DACA.”
Michael Chung, political science major said, “Well, I feel it is a cruel and heartless decision, but I know where he’s getting at in terms of border security. But I’m glad to hear Congress is going to make a bipartisan effort about a clean immigration law they will propose. Still, these are young immigrants who happen to help our country and are patriotic Americans.”
President Trump mentioned how there are legal issues involved with the existence of DACA.
“I think it’s unfair and immoral to try to repeal DACA and kick these people out of the country. They came here as children, through no fault of their own. In most cases they have never been to their home country and don’t even speak the language,” Andrew Folmsbee said.
Folmsbee agreed with Chung’s sentiment that the Dreamers are, at the end of the day, mostly patriotic Americans.
“In most cases these people work hard and contribute to our economies and society and are as American as any of us. To send them away not only hurts these innocent people but also damages our country and its reputation,” said Fomlsbee.
President Trump said the economy as a major reason to why DACA is being removed.
He states that the fiscal disadvantages are just too much to bear: “The decades-long failure of Washington, D.C. to enforce federal immigration law has had both predictable and tragic consequences: lower wages and higher unemployment for American workers, substantial burdens on local schools and hospitals, the illicit entry of dangerous drugs and criminal cartels, and many billions of dollars a year in costs paid for by U.S. taxpayers.”
Lukas Durkin, an ESU alumni that majored in economics, talked about the economic debate concerning immigration.
“You don’t have to study economics for years to know immigration and the cost/benefit associated with it are perpetual key elements of debate, but they are also fallacy. I have found economists that will tell you it cost $40,000 per illegal immigrant to the state, and also find some that claim they are a net benefit of $10,000 plus. The statistics on a group of people who wish not be known about is impossible,” said Durkin.
“I disagree and I dislike that he removed DACA. I understand why he had to do it, where I guess he felt pressure from all the state attorney generals that sued him,” said Lucas DeBartolo, a member of the College Democrats, “I would have rather seen him let it go to court and have them determine that.”
Ryan Fagan, a history major, analyzes DACA in a number of ways. He views it from a cruelty standpoint, but also in terms of foreign affairs.
“These people grew up here. They went to American schools. They have American values. Many of them have no memory of their home country because they were so young,” said Fagan.
Fagan mentioned how felons should be handled, and also our neighboring country Mexico in regards to DACA.
“I know there was part of DACA that didn’t offer protection to felons which I completely agree with. Also, where will we send them? Some people came over without any paperwork and they might not know where they came from. So, what? We send them into Mexico? While we’re not at risk of going to war with Mexico, I’d still rather have a working relationship with our southern neighbor,” said Fagan.
Trump said that they plan to resolve DACA issue as compassionately as possible, while still following “the lawful democratic process.”
He added that any immigration reform that is to be adopted must provide enduring benefits for American citizens.
“We must also have heart and compassion for unemployed, struggling, and forgotten Americans,” said Trump in his statement.
He shared the idea that we are all dreamers bestowed with American values.
Trump said American citizens must be the top priority as they “have dreams too”, and “improving jobs, wages and security for American workers and their families” should be the number one concern when reforming immigration.
Both Republicans and Democrats are coming up with ways to solve the removal of DACA before March.
In March, the six-month window for adjunction of the renewal process for DACA recipients will close.
Democrats have been pushing for a vote on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act, a bill which would give DACA recipients the opportunity to gain citizenship.
The Dream Act would result in a shorter process for obtaining citizenship, potentially only taking five years.
“Following the implementation of the Dream Act, we’ll have case study we can point to where we can say we provided a path to citizenship or legal involvement in the community for these young immigrants, and the sky didn’t fall,” said Democrat State Representative Beto O’Rourke.
Some conservatives feel that the Dream Act is a form of amnesty, essentially ignoring illegal actions.
On Sept. 25, Republican Senators Thom Tillis, James Lankford and Orinn Hatch proposed a new act called Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers Employment Education and Defending our nation (SUCCEED).
“We think it’s a balanced resolution for a vexing problem that hasn’t been solved for 30 years, and we’ll have to take the hits,” said Tillis when asked during a press conference about the criticisms of the SUCCEED Act.
The SUCCEED Act would require more qualifications for the participants and would be a longer process.
Under the SUCCEED Act, participants would have “conditional permanent residence” for 10 years.
After the 10 years, they would become eligible for a green card, which can be renewed after five years.
When they have held a green card for five years, they would then be able to apply for citizenship.
This act would make participants wait 15 years for citizenship.
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