DACA: Framing the Policy Debate
· DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
· Approximately 690,000 young adults are protected under the DACA program
· To be eligible, applicants had to have been brought into the U.S. before age 16, had lived within the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and no older than 30 at the time which DHS enacted the policy in 2012
· Among the accepted applicants, Mexico is by far the greatest contributor, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
· Since the enactment of DACA, recipients have been able to obtain valid driver’s licenses, enroll in college, and legally secure jobs. Therefore, they pay income taxes.
· DACA recipients are not legal permanent residents nor do they have a path towards citizenship.
· If Congress doesn’t produce legislation by March 6, as many as 983 undocumented people could lose their protected status every day—nearly 30,000 people per month.
· The DHS stated it would process new DACA applications that were received by September 5, 2017, and renewal applications that were received by October 5, 2017. People who already have DACA and whose work permits would expire between Sept. 5, 2017, and March 5, 2018, were eligible to apply for a two-year renewal if they applied by October 5, 2017.
· Judge William Alsup, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, ordered a preliminary injunction, which reallows DACA recipients to apply for renewal of their status. However, this action by Judge Alsup does not allow people to allow for DACA status if they do not already have DACA status.
“Is it Time for Congress to Address Immigration?”
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program originally enacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration in 2012. Despite the contrasting opinions on each side of the political aisle, DACA contains many positive and negative qualities that make its continued enactment not the most optimal policy for the United States and its people. The program has allotted undocumented immigrants who have been living in the United States (for at least two decades) to obtain “deferred action” meaning they can live and work in the United States without fear of immediate deportation. This allows almost a million people to work and to pay income taxes contributing to the government services and benefits we all expect. However, DACA recipients are not afforded many government services, which they contribute. For example, DACA recipients may not be awarded benefits such as Medicaid, private health insurance subsidized by the U.S. government (per Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). By allowing DACA recipients to be known to the state, they are removed from the black market and possess economic security. Additionally, the program has allowed almost one thousand recipients to participate and serve in the U.S. military. Furthermore, DACA recipients have enjoyed many benefits from the United States that would prove costly to ignore. Since entering the United States, DACA recipients have attended Americans schools, and some have even went on to postsecondary institutions. Educating a populace is incredulously expensive. The revocation of DACA would be a major drain on productivity. Another flaw of the program is the cost of applying for DACA. Per application, a potential recipient must pay a nonrefundable fee of $495 to DHS. If his or her application is denied by DHS, there is no appeal. The individual must reapply and pay that fee again. Aside from the economic side of this issue, the issue of morality and the sanctity of a family is also a significant portion of this debate. All recipients of DACA entered the United States at less than sixteen years of age. They would not recognize and do not know their country of origin. Many DACA recipients also have family members in the United States who are U.S. citizens or have legal resident status. Many who are vehement supporters of DACA argue that the revocation of DACA would cause families to be torn apart. By allowing DACA recipients to be open about their status to the state, they can feel more comfortable accessing community services, contacting the police, and being more engaged in civic activities. However, a major flaw of DACA is the storage of information, and the management thereof. If someone, in good faith, applies for deferred action under the program, and are denied, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security knows exactly where and who that person is to begin deportation procedures. Further, at any time, the deferred action may be revoked by the DHS. While DACA does have its faults, it is better than no alternative policy.