Last September saw the end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program better known as DACA, and as a result of its undue closure, many hardworking, educated immigrants will soon be forced to make a decision. Their choice will be to stay in the U.S. illegally after their deferment has expired or relocate to their place of birth.
Critics of the DACA program assert that the very existence of DACA policies currently enjoyed by nearly 800,000 participants are unlawful and that its inception during the Obama presidency is unconstitutional. Steven Camarota, a columnist for the National Review, shamelessly said in his article Time to End DACA, that “the program is illegal, overbroad, and the first step toward a full amnesty.” Camarota, and an unnervingly large percentage of voters who side with him, claim that the Obama Administration not only granted legitimate status to an army of child criminals, but systematically re-wrote immigration law under the guise of “prosecutorial discretion.”
As on the fringe as these viewpoints might seem, it is a mistake to categorize them as wholly unpopular. The response following the President’s announcement to dismantle DACA once and for all was overwhelmingly positive. Support for the decision with registered Republicans totaled 83 percent according to one YouGov poll last year.
This high level of ardent disdain for a government program that not only benefits the immigrants in question, but supports economic growth on a wider scale, is puzzling. Many well-intending DACA defenders have a knee-jerk reaction to immediately cry bigotry. These hasty accusations of racism and ethnic elitism serve only to frustrate conservatives who have genuine concerns while bolstering the scorn of the actual racists such conservatives attempt to distance themselves from.
Realizing that a call for compassion generally carries little weight on the right side of the aisle might also provide progressives with the tools to engage in civil discourse concerning future controversial topics. Rather than speaking of emotional well-being, which is difficult to assign a standard deviation, progressives can focus on the numbers. Fortunately, the societal benefits of the DACA program can be graphed, and the numbers are telling.
The Center for American Progress reports that 91 percent of DACA recipients are employed, 69 percent saw pay increases after entering the program and 16 percent have purchased a home. Eight percent of recipients over the age of 25 have started their own businesses, a figure that CAP reports is “outpacing the general population in terms of business creation.” These businesses are responsible for aiding in job creation for American citizens. On paper, this pool of applicants seems to be contributing more to American quality of life standards than most Americans.
Ending DACA will have lasting effects on some of our peers. While the Registrar’s office declined to comment on the number of DACA registered students at the U, its estimated that 45 percent of registered DACA users currently attend a school with 71 percent of the school attendees seeking Bachelor’s degrees and higher.
With the United States having one of the lowest education quality rankings of any developed nation, the move to deport a group of people so invested in academia seems to be inspired by misplaced priorities.