Trump’s decision to break with DACA is a mistake

Elizabeth Bonin, Managing Editor

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President Trump recently announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). For the past five years, the program has allowed those who immigrated to the United States as children to have work permits, pursue an education, and have relief from deportation. Their a had to be renewed every two years. DACA allowed young immigrants to work, attend K-12 and higher education, and in some cases escape violence from their home country. Overall, the program gave young immigrants a wonderful opportunity. But with Trump’s executive action, DACA recipients will effectively lose their status on March 5, 2018. Congress has six months to devise an alternate plan of action.

I find it obscene that Trump has no value for the 800,000 recipients of DACA. The day he announced the termination of DACA, Trump tweeted out, “I look forward to working w/ D’s + R’s in Congress to address immigration reform in a way that puts hardworking citizens of our country 1st.” This implies that DACA recipients are not hardworking. According to a survey conducted by, 76 percent of respondents are employed, and 45 percent are both employed and enrolled in school. It seems more likely to me that these young immigrants are taking the opportunity to be successful. They are working towards a better life for themselves and their family. They deserve their spot here. The DACA recipients should not even have to justify living in the U.S. If they need help, shouldn’t the U.S., a country wealthier than most others, offer them assistance and protection?

In addition, eliminating DACA will not be economically efficient. There will be 800,000 less people adding to the economy. Employers will have to search for new employees to fill the spot of DACA recipients, and they may struggle to find someone with the same level of expertise. According to the New York Times, Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, the gross national product of the U.S. will be $105 billion less with the loss of the DACA recipients. Some argue that these young immigrants are “stealing” jobs from Americans. I disagree. You cannot steal a job you never had. In addition, I would much rather hire a competent employee than an incompetent one, whether or not they were an undocumented immigrant. If you earn a job, you earn a job.

Many, if not all, of these young immigrants did not choose to come here. They came with their families at a young age for their own survival and general well-being. They have now lived in America so long that they do not identify with the country they were born in. They are true Americans and should not have to leave based on a decision that was not their’s. Even if they did have a say in the decision, they should not be punished for working toward a better life.

Despite all the negative ramifications of ending DACA, I am pleased to see that this is something Republicans and Democrats both seem to agree on. I think that happens fewer times than a total solar eclipse across the U.S. I do urge the remaining few that support the end of DACA to rethink their position. They are essentially turning their backs on 800,000 people. They are telling 800,000 people that they do not matter. We need to get rid of the “America first” mindset. Documented American citizens are not the only people who we should value.

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