In 2012, President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, which provides relief to nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. These individuals, often referred to as Dreamers, were allowed to attend school, work and live in the United States without fear of deportation.
Last week, the Trump administration announced the rescinding of DACA, leaving nearly 800,000 Dreamers to fear their unknown fate.
These young people were promised protection and safety from the only country they have ever known, having lived here since they were children, and our country has turned its back on them. America is a nation founded by immigrants, and today our country is only great because of them — Trump, you cannot make America great “again” without the people who made it great to begin with.
Dreamers pay U.S. taxes, attend our universities and contribute to our communities and economies. How can our country abandon people who contribute just as much to society as any one else, if not more?
Dreamers were told they were safe and could call America their home. Now they fear what could happen to them tomorrow, next month or in the six months Trump gave Congress to act on the decision. Ending DACA will completely upend lives. Without its protection, Dreamers could lose their jobs, their ability to attend school, provide for their families or in the worst case, be deported.
To add to this fear, the government knows exactly where they live and where to find them, as applicants are required to give personal information when applying to DACA.
In addition to widespread uncertainty, the Trump administration continues to send out mixed signals. In a textbook Trump-style tweet, the president declared “for all of those (DREAMers) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!” This should be reassuring, but the rest of his administration seems to have a different agenda.
A set of White House talking points on the end of DACA said “The Department of Homeland Security urges DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States,” which one can assume means certain deportation.
It is essential the White House gets its story straight, rather than force nearly 800,000 individuals to fear for their livelihood for the next six months.
Opposition to DACA stems from misleading information and flimsy arguments about DACA that opponents, like the Trump administration, perpetuate. The president claimed that DACA spurred a “massive surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America.” However, this is a baseless claim. Any new arrivals of undocumented immigrants would not qualify for DACA, as it only protects immigrants brought in before age 16 who have been living in the United States since 2007.
Madison community rallies in support of DACA recipientsIn response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, University of Wisconsin students and community Read…
Moreover, the classic anti-immigration argument that undocumented immigrants take jobs away from U.S. citizens is completely invalid regarding DACA. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that trends in foreign-born and native-born unemployment rates have not changed with DACA. So sending these undocumented immigrants back to the countries they were born in, but do not call home, will do nothing for opening up jobs up to native-born Americans.
The U.S. was founded as a nation of immigrants, and we must welcome immigrants today. DREAMers contribute to our country’s community, society and economy daily. Sending nearly 800,000 individuals back to countries now foreign to them is not the answer, and forcing them to live in fear and uncertainty for the next six months is cruel.
The majority of Trump’s arguments against DACA are baseless, and Congress needs to act now to save the program and protect part of what makes this country great.
Claudia Koechell ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in history and political science. She is the press secretary for UW College Democrats.