I've not had the urge to write in awhile, but with the recent events that have transpired I couldn't resist. I have so many friends that are immigrants and the recent promises and threats made by the Trump Administration have struck a cord. I never wanted Oh, Brenda! to be political but as a law grad it's only right that I state my opinion.
What Is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an Obama-Era program that protects immigrants who arrived in the US as kids from being deported. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. DACA gives young undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit in the US legally. The program expires after two years, subject to renewal. The program currently protects some 800,000 people from deportation, 120,000 of which are in Texas.
What Are The Requirements For DACA?
- You were under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012;
- You first came to the United States before your 16th birthday;
- You have lived continuously in the United States from June 15, 2007 until the present;
- You were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time you apply;
- You came to the United States without documents before June 15, 2012, or your lawful status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- You are currently studying, or you graduated from high school or earned a certificate of completion of high school or GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or military (technical and trade school completion also qualifies); and
- You have NOT been convicted of a felony, certain significant misdemeanors (including a single DUI), or three or more misdemeanors of any kind.
What’s going on now?
President Trump on Tuesday announced that he would order an end to the program calling it an “amnesty-first approach” and urging Congress to pass a replacement before he begins phasing out its protections in six months. As early as March, some of the 800,000 young adults brought to the United States illegally as children who qualify for the five-year-old program will now become eligible for deportation.
Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the change at the Justice Department, argues that those in the country illegally are “lawbreakers who hurt native-born Americans by usurping their jobs and pushing down wages.” Contrary to the “no felony conviction” requirement of the program.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, indicated that Mr. Trump would support legislation to “fix” the DACA program, as long as Congress passed it as part of a broader immigration overhaul to strengthen the border, protect American jobs and enhance enforcement.
It is of no surprise that Trump has it out for any program protecting immigrants in the United States. President Trump (I truly hate saying that) has continuously showed a lack of compassion for immigrants and even vowed to dismantle the program during his campaign. It is true that our government must come together to address issues with our immigration laws. People come to the United States for the promise of freedom and opportunity. But the current immigration system in the United States is broken: Families are separated, immigrant workers are exploited, people die trying to cross the border, and there is rampant discrimination against immigrants. We need a commonsense immigration process that includes a roadmap for people who aspire to be citizens. But what’s also true is that our federal government has a very difficult time legislating comprehensive immigration laws. Hint: DACA was passed by executive order partially because Congress had such a hard time agreeing on immigration reform. However, we cannot continue to allow our presidents to legislate law through executive orders on an issue that truly belongs to the people of the United States. We must allow each elected official to do their job and represent the people in their districts. With that being said:
Trump and his puppets are using this moment to gain momentum for his strict policies against immigrants and possibly (but highly unlikely) a budget for that stupid ass wall. Right now Congress is back in session and must agree on a budget or risk government shut-down. This is nothing new (as it happens all the time.) But this time, President Trump has stated that he’d veto any budget that didn't include funding for a US-Mexico border wall. He backed out of that statement but once again the administration has stated that Trump would only support legislation to “fix” the DACA program, as long as Congress passed it as part of a broader immigration overhaul to strengthen the border, protect American jobs and enhance enforcement. So, you can read between the lines for yourself.
What’s even more troubling is the administrations reason for wanting to gut DACA. One reason being that it is unfair and that immigrants are "usurping" American job opportunities. However, I did some research of my own and SURPRISE Mr. Trump... there are no major U.S. industries in which immigrants outnumber the U.S. born, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
All told, immigrants made up 17.1% of the total U.S. workforce in 2014, or about 27.6 million workers out of 161.4 million. About 19.6 million workers, or 12.1% of the total workforce, were in the U.S. legally; about 8 million, or 5%, entered the country without legal permission or overstayed their visas. (Roughly 10% of unauthorized immigrants have been granted temporary protection from deportation and eligibility to work under two federal programs, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status.)
Additionally, Trump stated that these immigrants are “lawbreakers,” but once again one of the requirements of DACA is that the applicant must not have been convicted of a felony or certain significant misdemeanors (including a single DUI), or three or more misdemeanors of any kind. With applications being renewed every two years there’s no way that these Dreamers could possibly be lawbreakers.
In the end, my heart goes out to all the Dreamers who stand to be affected by this atrocious administration. You are the American Dream and I will stand by you in any way that I can. For my followers, if you’d like to voice your opinion please comment below. To support those who are protected by DACA call your congressman/woman today and let them know that you expect them to fight to ensure that DACA remain in place. You can find your representative here https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.