We’re about to make a big mistake!
I haven’t paid much attention to the “Dreamers” issue (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or “DACA”) because (1) it didn’t affect me and (2) I sort of bought into the narrative that it was a way for bad, illegal immigrants to get citizenship. However after last week’s announcement that it was going to be suspended I researched the issues and am now convinced that the generally accepted narrative is dead wrong:
- DACA doesn’t grant citizenship, it simply gives legal status to eligible immigrants so they can work, pay taxes, go to school, etc.
- The program does not provide lawful status or a path to citizenship to the limited number of DACA-eligible immigrants (approx. 880,000), nor does it provide eligibility for federal welfare or student aid
- It did not create a “rush” of last minute illegal immigrants to the U.S. because eligibility is limited to children who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday and before 2007
- To remain eligible for DACA, the participants must have completed high schoolor a GED, have been honorably discharged from the armed forces, or are enrolled in school; and must have lived continuously in the United States since June 15, 2007 no lawful status on June 15, 2012
- Most importantly, it does not give legal status to criminals. To remain eligible, participants cannot have been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanors, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety (FYI – the per capita percentage of DACA-eligible immigrants who have been in jail is significantly less than the general (legal) population).(I’m no thug but I’m pretty sure I committed at least three misdemeanors when I was the DACA-eligible age!
Eligible immigrants who wanted to get “Dreamer” status had to voluntarily come forward, complete an application, and jump though a host of other hoops to meet the strict program requirements. They did, and continue to do, what we asked them to do. They are the most educated, law-abiding members of the undocumented population. Changing the rules now is not only unfair and un-American, it’s simply dumb. Identifying and deporting the “cream of the crop” does not accomplish anything. Crime won’t go down (thugs and gang members didn’t sign up for DACA and wouldn’t be eligible); government assistance programs won’t save any money (DACA participants are not eligible); and unemployment won’t improve. In fact, it will be worse. A huge percentage of Dreamers are currently (legally) working and paying taxes. Taking away their work eligibility forces them back into the “shadow” economy. Suspending/Revoking the DACA program is a very bad idea.