Professor Timothy Lockhart
7 November 2018
Should Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Be Terminated?
Over the last decade, legislators have tried to create a pathway for undocumented immigrants brought as children to become U.S. Citizens. Today, there is still many arguments about legal and illegal immigration in the political atmosphere. To this topic, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, cannot be avoid. DACA is a program created under former President Barack Obama’s administration as a result of Congress’ failure to pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors act, also known as the DREAM act. On June 15, 2018, President Barack Obama made an executive order for millions of immigrants living in the United States since their youth. His order still provides temporary relief from deportation for those who fall under the requirements. DACA has given people the right to get a social security number and have proper work authorization in the United States. In some states, DACA recipients have obtained driver license and enrolled in community colleges. Since its implementation, some 800,000 undocumented immigrants have been granted the right to work legally in the United States (Lopez, 2017). Some states vary in what they give to DACA recipients, but what is the federal eligibility criteria?
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, in order to be eligible for DACA, one must have been under 31 as of June 15, 2012, came to the United States before one’s 16th birthday, and have continuously resided within the United States since June 15, 2017; one must either be enrolled in school, have obtained a GED or diploma from a high school, or be an honorably discharged veteran from either the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; one must also not have been convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors, as well not pose a threat to national security or public safety on June 15,2012.
To be considered for DACA, people are to file a I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-765W Worksheet. The fee for DACA, including employment authorization and biometric services, is $495, and it cannot be waived.
DACA recipients are important in Northern Virginia. Recipient have contributed to the construction of many buildings and roads. Prince William County is a place where many DACA recipients live, go to school, and work. I did an over-the-phone interview with a DACA recipient who resides within Prince William County in Manassas, Virginia. His name is Jonathan Alvarado, and he came to the United States at the age of 5 from El Salvador. I asked him about how his journey to the United States was, and how it felt to be undocumented before DACA was in place. He said that it did not have much of an effect on him because he was enrolled in school like all of his other friends. However, the effects of being undocumented did not start to impact him until he wanted to get a job once he was 16. He was unable due to his undocumented status and receiving an I9 verification form after he was offered a job, but his family decided to apply for DACA shortly after he turned 15. Jonathan told me about how much DACA has helped him with obtaining a job. DACA also allowed him to obtain a driver’s license. He now drives to school in his car and works to save money to be stable for when he goes to college. Jonathan is extremely thankful for the DACA program and all the benefits he obtained because of it.
Many Americans aren’t positive towards the DACA program. Many opposed it when it was put in place, quoting the fact that Obama bypassed Congress. Many Trump supporters support building a border wall between Mexico and the United States, and there is no question how much they hate illegal immigration. Illegal immigration has become a center point of Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump, and his supporters would support a deal of passing the DACA, or a slimar version of it, in return for full funding of Trump’s border wall. In the present, though, 70% of Americans say they favor DACA (Salvanto, 2018). Among Trump supporters the support is much smaller, but overall the country, (U.S.A) seems to support immigrants that came here as children.
President Donald Trump ended DACA on September 5, 2017 through an executive order. He argued that Obama overreached his constitutional authority in implementing the program only through executive action. He called on Congress to fix the problem and pass a bipartisan bill (Greenwood, 2018). However, a federal judge partly blocked the order and ordered The Department of Homeland Security to begin allowing renewals for it (Greenwood, 2018)
Trump expressed his dislike on illegal immigration as a whole, but he has also expressed little to no support for DACA, as long as Congress passes a bill that favors him and Republicans border wall funding. Democrats in Congress opposed funding a border wall and didn’t want the deal, even though it would help DACA recipients. As a result, Donald Trump tweeted “DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon… No longer works. Must build Wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!” However, Donald Trump is wrong in saying that DACA is dead because of Democrats, since he signed an executive order to end it. ( Lopez, 2018) Therefore, Trump seems to only support DACA if Democrats can approve funding for a border wall. Let me put to you this way, he only supports DACA because it’s his leverage he has for the border wall deal he has bragged about since his campaign days.
DACA should be reinstated as it was when then-president Obama put it in place. The program is helpful and necessary for the immigrants that came here as children because it makes sure documentation is only given to those who have committed no significant crimes, helps put people in the workforce, and it is necessary because the children that came here as the United States have no fault in that the actions their parents committed. DACA permits those who have no significant crimes to work and obtain a social security number, which is beneficial to the country as a whole because it ensures that only those with a low possibility of committing serious crimes are allowed to work and sometimes operate a vehicle. People talk about how immigrants pose a threat to national security due to how they might bring in crime, especially from the current President, but this issue is already taken into consideration by the criminal record requirements mentioned in the DACA executive order. The DACA order excludes those who have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three misdemeanors. Now because of this, it ensures that only those with clean records are the ones trusted to join the workforce and obtain a social security number.
Another benefit of DACA is that it adds people into the workforce. Many DACA recipients have graduated from college or are in college, and because of the order Obama made it ensured that people with valuable skills get into the workforce. This is true of child immigrants, since they grew up in America and have enjoyed the benefits of an American education. These children are as American as a child born here. My friend Jonathan Alvarado said he plans to go to college and major in either business management or business administration, hoping to one day start a business and expand it. There are many DACA recipients like Jonathan who will use their skills and effort to obtain a higher education.
Some children that were brought here as child immigrants did not come here to take jobs, but rather, they come to create them. DACA only gives them an easier way to do so, since it gives them the ability to work and save money for important things like college. Also, recipients of DACA came here as children, and most didn’t have any knowledge that they were breaking the law. A lot say they are not law-abiding, but it is not true. Jonathan, for example, came here at the age of 5, and had no choice and any idea of the journey he was making. DACA recipients are not at fault for the crimes committed by their parents. They should be treated just as children who were born in America are, and they should be given the same rights as them.
DACA should not be terminated because it is a good program that helps many children who arrived in the United States as immigrants. It helps the country as a whole by making sure that only those with clean criminal records who mainly came here as a result of their parents are able to contribute to the economy and obtain higher education if they wish. Recipients are paying taxes just like any other American working. They are all hard working humans and deserve to be respected.
Elmer Alvarenga Professor Timothy Lockhart English 110C 7 November 2018 Should Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals