DACA repeal: What does it mean?


The protection for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants implemented by President Barack Obama was repealed by President Trump on the 5th of September, putting 800,000 people at risk of losing their homes, their jobs, and their future in America. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program offers protection for a generation of undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers.” It protects those who risked everything to come to America for a better life, away from the dangers of home. This program does not exist anymore, and the protections it promised are set to expire by March, just six months later.

The benefits of the DACA policy are clear to those 800,000 that it provides safety. Under the program, Dreamers no longer had to worry about the dangers of deportation, work permits, or access to education. To be eligible for the DACA program, these undocumented immigrants must have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007, be born on June 16, 1981 or earlier, and came to the United States before they were 16. The average age of applicants when they first came to the United States is just five. In other words, the program targets a specific portion of immigrants that lived in America since such a young age for such a long time that they are essentially Americans. They do not know about their home country; they know of America.

Jeff Sessions, in his announcement of the non renewal of the DACA, claimed that the DACA was unconstitutional, hurt the economy, and that it took away jobs from Americans. These claims are baseless. There is no evidence linking DACA to economical harms. To the contrary, many economists claim that this program has been a boon to the economy. According to a research done by Center for American Progress, the repeal of DACA would cost America $433 billion dollars over the next ten years. Additionally, there has been no proof that DACA has taken the jobs of Americans. Many of these individuals work towards professional, high paying careers, and some even start business, which help feed back into the community. All this is ignoring the fact that these people are just as American as President Trump; the only difference is that they do not have an American passport.

President Trump claims that these individuals are not the best people. However, because they are held to a higher standard than native-born Americans, they tend to commit less crimes and have higher education. To be applicable to DACA, they must have completed high school or a GED, been honorably discharged from the army, or currently enrolled in school; not been convicted of a felony, no serious misdemeanors, and no more than two misdemeanors. By ending DACA and allowing these undocumented immigrants to be deported, we are losing valuable, skilled individuals that are necessary for the success of the American economy.

Given all of these benefits, it makes sense to defend this program for both economic and moral reasons. However, President Trump promised during his campaign to repeal DACA on the first day in office in order to appease to the radical right, hard anti-immigration constituents. Though his promise has been fulfilled a little late, he ultimately delivered.

The loss of DACA is clearly a threat to the many individuals whose lives rely on it, as well as to the companies who have employed these outstanding individuals. Yet, the DACA program itself is not perfect. It is a patchwork temporary fix that was implemented through weak means. In 2012, then President Barack Obama bypassed the congress and established DACA within the executve branch in a controversial move. What is done through a presidential memo can be undone by one. By removing DACA and giving it a six months’ lead, it forces the congress to act; Else, disaster would befall, adding another ticking time bomb to congress that cannot be left to let explode. Ultimately, President Trump is moving the responsibilities to the congress, moving the responsibilities away from him.

President Trump did cancel DACA. That is a problem, but it is not as bad as it might seem. There are still six months until congress can implement a similar program. Most likely, they will. Trump’s repeal introduces uncertainty in the minds of many, the fact that it is not a legislation introduces an element of uncertainty in of itself. Any future president could easily revoke DACA and yet again threathen the security of Dreamers. It is now up to congress to pass a law replacing DACA.