Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals In The Us

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, more commonly referred to as DACA, is a policy that allows people brought to the U.S. as children to receive a permit that renews every two years. This permit shields them from deportation and allows them to obtain a work permit. However, DACA does not allow a path to citizenship. Recently, in 2017 the Trump administration decided to phase out the program, but it was blocked by federal judges so the program has stayed in place thus far. However, its future remains uncertain for thousands of individuals that currently hold this status.

Intergovernmental relations in DACA are like that of NCLB, the response of the states is divided. This policy was a result of an executive order issued by the Obama Administration that was imposed upon the states. Taking California as an example for this topic, this state has been an advocate for the program. It issues driver's licenses and even offers in-state tuition as well as qualifying for Medi-Cal. A California federal judge was one of the judges who blocked the Trump Administration's attempt at rescinding DACA. The state government, like in NCLB, must follow the guidelines set in place by each program. Unlike NCLB, they do not have anything to report but must allow DACA recipients to work. DACA recipients in California have contributed to Medicare, Social Security, and California’s economy overall. These contributions have gone directly into the U.S. economy and have helped the Social Security fund stay afloat even when not receiving or being able to receive benefits in the future. This program enacted by the federal government and funneled to the states has helped the U.S. economy and the individual state economies.

The intergovernmental relations regarding DACA thus far have been a little rocky. We have a few states such as California of course, Minnesota, New York, etc. who wish to see the federal government partake in some permanent action to help DACA recipients continue their protections or receive a pathway to citizenship. There are others such as Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, etc. who wish the program be revoked completely. The Trump Administration has made its position on this issue clear. The U.S. Supreme Court has chosen to step away from the issue overall. There does not seem to be a clear relationship regarding this issue across all levels of government. This program, such as the NCLB Act was imposed on the states, there is of course one major difference. This act was passed with bipartisan support. As for DACA, it was definitely not bipartisan, it was an executive order by the Obama Administration. One of the things they were alike in was a public backlash. However, NCLB failed and in my opinion, DACA has been benefitted the country favorably and of course California. The interaction among these levels shows the lack of compromise and its inability to help solve the issue at hand. Over the course of the last two years, DACA has been used as a barter among every level of government. The Trump Administrations' decision to rescind the program due to the attempt of several states threatening the president to go through with his promise. However, it was followed by several judges providing injunctions to block this recision. The program itself is currently in limbo and the lack of interaction between every level of government to resolve this issue will affect thousands of hundreds of DACA recipients. Many have chosen to non-renew their permits for the fear of uncertainty and the future of the program itself. For California, which recognizes the economic impact these recipients have on their states it is detrimental that these individuals continue to enlarge the decreasing workforce.

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The State of California consists of 223,000 DACA recipients which are one-fourth of the total in the United States (Johnson 2017). California was the first national preliminary injunction against the Trump Administrations' termination of the DACA program (Status). This injunction was actually the one that reinstated DACA for many DACA recipients, thus allowing them to renew again. This occurred in January of 2018. Before this, more than 100,000 recipients had their protections expired or about to expire. The State of California filing this motion and with the support of its localities went against the wishes of the federal government and succeeded. Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court was likely to get involved, right? Especially considering this ongoing debate on whether DACA is constitutional. A month later after the injunction, the U.S. Supreme Court “denied the federal government's unusual request to bypass the Ninth Circuit review of the case,” they chose not to hear the case altogether (Status).

We know thus far that California is home to one-fourth of the nation’s dreamers and about 70,000 of these dreamers attend public colleges in California. Aside from DACA recipients, California also has a large share of undocumented immigrants. The State of California like many other states will soon face economic challenges in the next ten years. This means that with a growing economy such as California’s. As for the United States, baby boomers will begin retiring thus increases this number. We will need a new workforce to replace them. The California Department of Finances states that in the next fifteen year, people over the age of 65 will increase by 3.4 million and the number of young adults will decline by 200,000 and the Public Policy Institute of California said that California will have 1.1 million fewer workers with at least a bachelor’s degree by 2030, these dreamers, are highly educated and they are closing this gap. (Johnson 2017). For California, it would be an economic disaster to remove DACA, which is one of the reasons they continue to fight hard for this program. DACA recipients are required to attend school, so this increases the number of individuals on track for receiving higher education. There is a large number of dreamers in this state, which allows in-state tuition and federal aid and it is helping the state close this gap. However, some states restrict higher education and federal aid to these recipients (Johnson 2017).

“Immigrants have long been a vital part of that pipeline for California’s Capital region and essential for an inclusive and thriving economy (Blackwood 2018). California’s influence on this topic has played a large key role in the interactions across many levels of government. This state holds a huge chunk of immigrants, whether they hold DACA status or illegal status. It has stood on its views that removing these DACA recipients from the workforce would be disastrous. By either revoking their legal status or attempting mass deportation. “It would cost employers an estimated $3.4 billion in unnecessary turnover costs, slash contributions to Medicare and Social Security by more than $24 billion over the next years, and impose GDP losses approximately $460 billion over a decade” (Blackwood 2018). Its effects were evident after the recession when many lost their status because they were not allowed to renew. California has shown the potential effects of permanently removing DACA and even the effects of expanding our decreasing workforce. It even pushes for increased work permits for other undocumented immigrants to save our workforce and support Social Security and Medicare.

Intergovernmental Relations have shaped the DACA program in many ways. One of the most impactful has been its close call to being terminated. DACA as of right now is standing in quicksand. There are a few timelines taking effect. This is where our federal judges take a stand after this prolonged battle between the states and the federal government over the issue of DACA. On August 31, 3018, Texas V. Nielsen, an opinioned was issued that DACA would stay in place because removing it would only prove to be at “great risk to many, does not make sense nor serve the best interests of this country (DACA). On November 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice basically asked the court to decide on the cases, however, the court has refused. There are also a few other cases that will be heard in 2019. There are multiple timeframes because of the different active cases. It is possible that some ruling is made earlier or maybe they will all take some time. Whatever the case may be, the lives of thousands of DACA recipients hang on a thread.

Every single public policy has some effect on the lives of everyone in the country, either directly or indirectly. Some public policies impact some more than others. In this case, through California, we have seen the bright future of DACA but we have also seen the effects of its removal. This issue, the issue of DACA has been in effect since 2012. Personally, it changed my life. As a DACA recipient, I am grateful to have been given this opportunity to learn, to have a driver’s license, to have a job, to attend college, even when they have been limited. However, there are major restrictions, I will receive no social security, no federal aid while in college, and I will have no direct path to citizenship. Since its incitation, it has faced some backlash, but these last two years, the program has witnessed some of its hardest times. There have been states for and some against, there have been federal governments for and against. It is really an intermingled intergovernmental relationship. There is really no clear relationship on the issue. However, the court system seems to be the last resort to finally resolve the issue. Especially considering the number of problems and interactions between the different levels and the question of its constitutionality, even some of the federal courts have differed in their response, but ultimately favored their opinion for it for some reason or another. For now, there are various timelines right now and any one of them can provide us with the result. We coulda respond as early as this year, maybe next year, or it will be this loop this continues.

We know intergovernmental relations to be the interaction between the levels of government. In this case, while the different levels of government interacted regarding the issue of DACA, there was not a good relationship present. There have been various disagreements in the last six years but the recent years have amplified the relationship between the federal and state/local governments regarding this issue. This relationship will continue to amplify itself and the future of DACA will continue to be uncertain if this relationship continues this route of non-cooperation. These individuals and our nation, in general, will feel its effects. For now, it is up to the courts to decide not only the future of these individuals but from what it looks like, the future of the country.  

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