Political Opinion–DACA

By Caleb Harlow

The latest controversial policy decision from the Trump Administration began making waves in the last week or two. The Trump Administration, pressured by Texas along with nine other Republican-led states, has ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (also known as DACA). As the name suggests, the DACA program provides protection to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. No less than nine different forms must be submitted during the application process, proving the applicant’s residence and criminal history, as well as biometric services and a $495 application fee. DACA recipients receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. DACA has protected over 800,000 people from deportation. Ending DACA is a terrible decision on the part of the Trump Administration and is incredibly harmful and unjust.

Subjecting DACA recipients to deportation would cause great harm for no good reason. Studies shows the deportation of adult immigrants to third-world poverty and oppression already causes grave harm and injustice. This cruelty and suffering would be even greater in the case of most DACA recipients. Many have never really known life in their country of origin, which is at the heart of the DACA policy. The standard argument for deporting undocumented immigrants is that they deserve that fate because they violated the law. I can understand the argument that deliberate violations of the law should never be tolerated, regardless of circumstance. However, this is not applicable to most DACA recipients. In nearly all cases, they either did not come to the United States by their own choice, were not legally responsible for their actions at the time (because they were minors), or both. You don’t have be a rocket scientist to realize that  six-year-olds have little choice but to go wherever their parents or guardians take them.

Additionally, DACA recipients contribute to the U.S. economy, and removing all DACA workers would have a devastating effect. A report by the Center for American Progress found that nearly 700,000 or 91% of all DACA recipients, have jobs, and removing DACA recipients from the workforce will cost the U.S. GDP $460 billion over 10 years. It would also cost employers $3.4 billion in turnover costs to replace lost workers and reduce contributions to Medicare and Social Security by $24.6 billion over 10 years.
Ending the DACA program is unjust to the millions of “Dreamers” who have never known life in a country other than the U.S. DACA recipients are our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers, and for some of us, our family. Showing a Christlike love to those who were brought here unwillingly does not look like forcing them out. “I was a stranger and you did not welcome me… for as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” Matthew 25:43-45