DACA and the Death of Dreams

For as long as anyone can remember the United States has been known for the “American Dream.” It is the idea that through hard work and determination anyone can achieve success in America. That is the main reason why many individuals choose to migrate here in the first place.  The issue with the “American Dream” comes when it’s time to discuss who it’s actually for.

Does “anyone” include people of all races, gender, sexes, or even illegal immigrants?

\Recently there’s been plenty of talk about DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation. This legislation came about as an executive order by former President Obama in 2012. It gave illegal immigrants that entered the country as minors a chance at  having some sort of protection from being deported, along with a few other perks. At this point in time, DACA was like a breath of fresh air when it came to immigration reform, because the Dream Act had already been dancing around Congress for over a decade and nothing had been done. For once, these immigrants were given the chance at opening their very first bank accounts, being able to go to college, and even getting the chance to hold down full time jobs. They were able to pursue happiness legally, for the first time in their lives.

People have always rushed to America for different reasons. Some rushed here for protection, to meet with family, or make money to send back home. Those are just some common reasons, but there is one thing that they all have in common. They all came here with hopes of living a better life. Most of these DACA recipients crossed the border when they were relatively young. Chances are their parents brought them over with them, because their parents were running away from the quality of life in their home countries. Their parents believed that having nothing in a land of opportunity, was better than having nothing in their native country. And so, they’re here now.

However as of recently, the Trump administration is aiming to do away with DACA. Now this wouldn’t be that much of an issue, if the legislation didn’t already protect over 800,000 individuals. After giving these individuals, a fair taste of the American dream, it wouldn’t be fair to them to get rid of DACA. CEO and founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg said it best, “”It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American Dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it. This is a sad day for our country.” Zuckerberg has a point. DACA recipients have already put in time, effort, and hard work in order to achieve the kinds of feats they have achieved over the last few years.

The main reason that Trump aimed at ending DACA was, because a group of states led by Texas and Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to sue if action wasn’t taken by September 5. If they had been allowed to sue, DACA would have been put on hold indefinitely. At least with what Trump did it’s clear that the life of DACA rests on the hands of Congress. Trump has given Congress six months to come up with an alternative for the legislation. If Congress comes up with nothing, then DACA will be no more and over 800,000 individuals will go back to countries they may not even know.

One issue that many anti-immigrants find with DACA is the belief that jobs are being taken from Americans. Naturally there are some jobs that DACA recipients have, which they wouldn’t if they weren’t protected by law. Since these jobs are being snatched from Americans, this is then pushing down wages. Although this logic makes sense there’s no evidence to back it up fully. Besides being a DACA recipient doesn’t automatically mean you will be employed. There are a myriad of reasons that go into someone being employed. For example, level of education, what skills does one have, and communication skills among many others.

Since DACA was implemented in 2012, the economy has benefited greatly. What has happened is that, because these individuals have now become full time workers. Their salaries  have increased, which means that these workers now have the opportunity to afford even more than before. This movement of money is what helps keep the economy strong and healthy. In fact, DACA recipients are making smart investments because they intend to stay. As in many of them are buying their first cars and houses. Others are investing in higher education with the hopes of getting well paying jobs in STEM and even in the social science aspect of the communities they live in. Economist Giovanni Peri once said, “ population creates its own jobs in some sense.” In this case that is true, because some DACA recipients are even opening up their very own businesses, which also help create jobs within their communities. These immigrants aren’t just fighting for themselves they are fighting for their families and communities.

Therefore should DACA recipients be relinquished from the workforce it’s already predicted that the economy will suffer. In fact, according to the Center for American Progressremoving DACA recipients from the workforce would do more damage than good. States would actually be losing about 8 billion annually in gross domestic product. Now the U.S. isn’t poor, but that’s a large chunk of money that could be put to good use.

Anti- immigration activists also hold the belief that most illegal immigrants are criminals. This logic aims to protect America from outsiders who aim to wreck havoc on the land. That kind of logic is quite questionable considering that not all individuals are the same, and should not be thrown in the same pot just because they come from the same place. The Migration Policy Institute statistics have even proved that out of the 11 billion unauthorized immigrants in this country only 820,000 individuals have been convicted of a crime. That is roughly about 0.7% of individuals. That just goes to prove that people don’t migrate here to live a life of crime.

What’s on an illegal immigrant’s mind, is just trying to figure out how to survive, and not get caught. In order to do that they would have to settle down and lay low. Various immigrants resort to buying fake ID’s and fraudulent social security cards. Although this is breaking the law, they don’t know what else to do to obtain a decent paying job without being at risk for being taken advantage of. A method like this one can allow various immigrants to remain undetected for years.

Usually when people think of illegal immigrants they mainly think of people from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. This would be acceptable if those were the only countries from which illegal immigrants came from. This belief stems from the idea that they just easily cross through the Mexican border. Illegal immigrants also come from various other countries apart from the previously stated countries. For example, India, and Korea, among many others. People figure out ways to trek to America by foot, boat, plane, train, and much more. There are even countries that don’t make deportation something easy to deal with. China being one of them.

Another thing that should be taken into account is the fact that since most DACA recipients came to the U.S. when they were young. Chances are, America is all they know. If they were to be deported to their native lands,  chances are they wouldn’t know how to get up on their own two feet, because they wouldn’t be familiar with anything. These immigrants might not even know their native tongue that well to defend themselves in a country they barely remember. Even if the DACA recipients had some skills to fend for themselves in their native land, it doesn’t really matter because the American way of life cannot be compared to any other country’s way of life.

Immigration Reform is a topic that will always stirrup far too much debate. Everyone has their own take on the whole issue. The whole country won’t ever be satisfied with any decision taken on this topic. People always have their own beliefs on what they think is best. At the end of the day, it has to be a decision that benefits everyone. There has to be a way for Americans to somehow cater to the immigrants. After all, this country is a generous country.

The United States of America was founded by immigrants. Their hard work runs through the very veins of this country. All the different things that they bring to the table are what truly makes America great. Immigrants are necessary for this country to keep moving forward. As a country it’s time to accept that they are here, and they are human too. Congress will soon make a decision on what to do with them, hopefully they’ll take into account these undeniable truths.

 

Darlene Berroa, Andrews University Student

 

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