In June of 2012 then President of the United States, Barack Obama authored a program named DACA (Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals.) Amongst the many reasons for the creation of DACA, one fundamental reason was to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation that were brought into the United States as children. To be eligible for DACA the children were required to have resided in the USA prior to 2007 and must have been no older than 15 or under 30 by 2012, other requirements included a high school degree or enrollment in a vocational school.
In this paper I will argue my belief the DACA movement will continue with future widespread public support and positive public outcry accompanied with some level of partisan resistance. I'll support this argument due to my belief in the moral history of the people of the United States and the changing of resistant public opinion based on the demonstrated economic success of the applicants, the educational growth and the economic contribution to the varying states by these very applicants.
The DACA program began when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepted applicants for the program on August of 2012. The primary goals of DACA were to help create productive lives of the children of undocumented immigrants in the form of opportunities and access to better employment as well as the aforementioned protection from deportation. Prior to the creation of DACA children of illegal immigrants could not attain Social Security numbers or work permits limiting career oriented employment while in the U.S.
There is little doubt the goals of the DACA program were being achieved as statistics reveal the majority of DACA participants benefitted with increased wages and employment status as well as appreciable health benefits for the participants and their children. According to The Center for American Progress, the DACA program is credited as the primary reason for the increased earnings for those enrolled. The average hourly wage of DACA applicants increased by 69 percent, rising from just over $10 to over $17 hourly. Furthermore, amongst DACA applicants over the age of 25, the typical hourly wage increased by nearly 84 percent. As a result it also reduced the number of illegal immigrant households living at or below the poverty level. To say the program was a success is an understatement! Further research revealed DACA participants average income rose to over $36K with many over 25 years old reaching figures as high as $41K annually. This increased income is not only beneficial for the applicants but also benefits the local state economy due to taxable revenue and growth.
As for DACA's impact on education it is important to note 72 percent (enrolled in school) are pursuing a bachelors degree or greater. In fact, “94 percent said that, because of DACA, “I pursued educational opportunities that I previously could not.” (Wong et al., 2017).
DACA's intersection with American government currently rests on the Trump administrations dislike for the program with general support for termination by the Republican party. Former president Obama's draft was supported by Hillary Clinton and much of the democratic party and as such foresaw positive continuance if Hillary had won the presidential election.
The future of the DACA movement rests within the American people and is likely to face some level of future contention but is currently being championed by the “Dreamers.” The name “Dreamers” was coined for the dual meaning both as in American 'Dream' and from the proposed congressional 'Dream' Act. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act was a congressional bill that would have granted undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as minors and educated in the U.S., legal status: no variations of the bill has ever been passed. Despite the children of the illegal immigrants identifying as 'American' the hopes and dreams currently lie in litigation.
The United States has always been a country that is founded on and welcomes immigration but how it handles 'illegal' immigration is still a point of controversy for American citizens and the legislative parties involved. How does the United States maintain sovereignty while allowing illegal immigrants access to U.S citizen tax-funded programs putting legal citizens and the U.S. budget under further burden? Engaging the community via televised media, some argue the 'open door' policy while others argue the merits of secure borders and a vetting process to ensure proper legal procedures are being implemented. President Trump's unpopularity and touted 'Make America Great Again' mantra often accompany thoughts of racism and bigotry and divides the nation on direction and legislation. Because the Trump administration aims to end DACA, how do supporters of this openly show their approval with the popular 'anti-Trump' sentiment? What about those who strongly oppose ending DACA but support president Trumps other agendas?
I think to address the issue of DACA one has to step outside politics and view the issue without partisan agendas. On the face of it, a country isn't a country if it can't secure it's borders and maintain sovereignty as well as the right to refuse anyone who purposefully tries to bypass the laws of immigration. I also believe a country has a duty to it's tax paying citizens to protect them from outsiders looking to benefit from the country's already burdened economic resources illegally. I also understand the needs of the refugee looking to escape a country due to poor economic conditions, dangerous environments or oppressive governments but doing so should be done legally. It's easy to type this sitting in an American home with internet and the privileges the illegal immigrants seek to acquire but a people without constraints to laws brings about chaos. The United States has always been a country that is well known for it's charity and acceptance of anyone from anywhere but to remain in civil peace and order, the underlying principal of adherence to law is of utmost importance.
I fully understand the needs of a DACA applicant and have friends that benefit from it's implementation. I understand the dilemma of the child of an illegal immigrant and their love for the USA; which now seeks to alienate them. I understand stating we need to maintain order by obeying law and the possibility of changing the very laws that cause such contention as DACA has caused. Since this is a democracy perhaps the people should ask Congress to draft proposals to be voted on, in changing the way illegal immigration is handled. Perhaps a tiered “citizenship” where un-naturalized citizens can be legalized by paying (taxation) into a system that supports 'illegal immigration' so that it's funded by the very people looking to benefit from it? I don't have the answers on how to fix the 'illegal immigration' problem the USA faces but I do know it's an issue that needs the brightest minds with a high sense of morality be involved to maintain the spirit that the USA is a nation of immigrants and founded as such should remain so- legally and ethically. I don't think the USA should simply deport the children of illegal immigrants who call the USA their home and in many cases only know the USA as home. I don't view myself as a Trump supporter but even a broken clock is right twice a day- the USA needs control of it's borders and cannot maintain USA sovereignty without knowing who is immigrating into the country. As such I oppose any legislation that would have the children of illegal immigrants deported; we have to do better! We have a population of illegal immigrants and perhaps should temporarily halt all immigration until an ethical solution is found to help the current population of immigrants and their children. We have removed God from our currency and just about all references elsewhere in American legislation, let's not remove God from our hearts as a nation originally founded on Christian principles. Morality and ethics are only valid when there is a foundry for the origin and despite the 'politically correctness' of leaving God out of things- we should examine just how far we have gotten while removed.
Let's take care of the current population of illegal immigrants and get our brightest and best to draft solutions for the public to vote on- isn't that the American way? As for the future potential of the Daca movement and 'Dreamers' as of August 31, 2018, District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA is “likely unconstitutional.” However, he let the program remain in place as litigation proceeds. The future of DACA and “Dreamers' will be decided by those elected officials 'we the people' put in office. The USA is at a turning point very much like that of the Regan era. Now more than ever, we have to ensure the peoples voices are heard via the very elected officials we put in place. The Republican party generally opposes DACA while the Democratic party generally favors it. How we vote in the upcoming years will lay the foundation for the future of DACA and the outlook of renewed immigration policies. The country is clearly divided on the DACA movement and opinions sway as the media portrays it's views via various outlets such as broadcast network coverage as well as the trend toward social media campaigns. The Trump administration hired people with close ties to well-known anti-immigrant groups like FAIR and CIS throughout the executive branch and continue to oppose DACA. The next Presidents' affiliation be-it Republican or Democrat will likely be a key factor that sets the trend for the programs future continuance. I truly believe the American people will take notice of the tremendous success of the DACA program and the positive outcome for it's applicants and continue to support the movement in the future. Scientific American Magazine stated “You Learn More from Success Than Failure” as many recall the mantra “success breeds success” and I believe the DACA program will continue to prove this point true.
I Lillian Martinez am convinced the DACA movement will continue as success tends to breed success and America adopts a new direction supported by it's citizens and embraces the successful DACA movement has undeniably demonstrated for it's applicants and a future course towards immigration reform as we know today. USA Today said it best in an article about what it means to be American, “Immigrants helped build the nation, we need to embrace them, not exclude them. The immigration issue is about more than just policy, it's about what it means to be an American, and whether that beacon of hope and freedom will continue to shine!” America just wouldn't be America without provisions for the children of undocumented immigrants. Our founding president George Washington once asked Americans to pray to the Almighty to “render this Country more and more a safe and propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other Countries.”
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