Trump fails moral test on DACA
The Trump administration announced its decision to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on Sept. 4. By doing this, President Trump has proven that he lacks the will or thoughtfulness to demonstrate moral leadership. Of course it would be too much to ask this privileged, wealthy, reality TV celebrity to put himself in the shoes of a working class immigrant who was brought into the country illegally.
President Obama implemented DACA in 2012. The aim of the program was to offer undocumented immigrants, who were brought into the country illegally, the opportunity to obtain a valid driver’s license, enroll in college, or seek legal employment. It does not offer a path to citizenship.
The Obama administration chose to implement DACA due to a lack of initiative by Congress to pass a substantive immigration reform bill. The program targets individuals who entered the U.S. before their sixteenth birthday; many were infants or young children brought in illegally by their parents or other adults. These individuals have lived in the U.S. for as long as they can remember with no ties to their country of birth. They have lived an American life, attended grade school, speak English, and have no criminal record. These individuals are by legal definition, illegal immigrants even though they are innocent of any wrongdoing.
DACA offers these individuals an opportunity to come out of the shadows and make things right. It allows them to continue to reside in the U.S. for two years with an opportunity for renewal after that two-year period.
Trump promised to resolve DACA with “heart and compassion,” but if Congress fails to pass legislation on the matter, residents who are currently protected under DACA will be deported. Many will be deported to a country they don’t remember and where they don’t speak the language.
DACA not only makes sense morally but financially as well. As baby boomers retire, it will become incumbent upon the younger generations to support them through contributions to social security. As it stands now, there are not enough workers to support all of these soon to be retirees. The U.S. will be forced to bring in residents to learn the language, work jobs, and pay taxes to ensure our social security recipients are adequately covered. Why not give residency to hard-working people who are by all accounts American except for their birth certificate?
The future of DACA, or a similar, program is now in the hands of lawmakers. Hopefully Congress will take swift action to ensure that capable immigrants are given an opportunity to be tax-paying members of society and to live up to America’s legacy as a nation of immigrants.