By Megan Smith
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a policy from the Obama presidency focused on helping illegal young undocumented immigrants. The goal of DACA is to provide working permits and protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. On Sept. 5, the Trump Administration made the nonsensical decision to rescind DACA, according to the New York Times.
DACA provides opportunities for nearly 800,000 individuals, according to the Los Angeles Times. Everyone who applies to DACA has to go through a tedious process of proving who they are in order to feel safe from the chance of being deported. The requirements to be eligible for DACA include the applicant to either be in high school, have graduated from high school or have their GED. The applicant must also be able to prove that he or she has continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007 and is under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, among many other requirements, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
One of the most significant requirements, in order to be approved for DACA, is that an applicant must have committed no felonies or serious misdemeanors, according to the Department of Homeland Security. This means that everyone approved for DACA is not a threat to society and abides by the law.
By ending DACA, the country would have been effectively hurting thousands of innocent children and adults whose only offense is assimilating into American society without having been born in the United States. On Sept. 14, the Trump Administration went back on its decision to end DACA, according to the New York Times. It is absurd that the Trump Administration was willing to end a program that has done nothing to put the United States in harm’s way.
The worst part about the decision to end DACA is that there was no replacement plan. The Trump Administration was willing to leave it entirely up to Congress to devise a back-up plan within six months, according to Fox News. DACA was put into place by executive action, which means that Congress played no role in crafting the policy, according to USA Today. Congress has failed to pass any significant legislation to help the undocumented population — one of its most notable failures being the DREAM Act. By leaving the decision up to Congress, Trump forgoed any viable immigration plan to put in place of DACA.
I cannot help but wonder why the Trump Administration felt that it was acceptable to leave the futures of 800,000 people up in the air. Beneficiaries of DACA have become contributing members of society by paying taxes and paying into government social programs, not collecting any benefits such as social security and medicaid or medicare. Many DACA beneficiaries have been here since they were children, and to deport those who are as much of a U.S. citizen as we are would be inhumane.
The decision to end DACA would have caused a lot of damage. Although we won this round, the fight is not over. I encourage everyone to take time out of their day and call up their U.S. representative, and speak out on this issue. The 800,000 individuals relying on DACA deserve a chance to continue living in the United States without fear.