By: Duke Staff
Families torn apart. People shipped off to places they don’t know or can hardly remember. These are the consequences of the recent announcement from the Trump administration to scrap the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigrant program.
This cruel policy change is now a reality for 800,000 young DACA recipients who suddenly face an uncertain future due to a part of their life in which they had no control.
DACA is a federal program established by executive order from former President Obama, which allows immigrants who came here before their 16th birthday to get renewable work permits, a driver’s license and assistance in affording college. The recipients are often called “Dreamers,” in part because that’s what they represent — the fulfillment of the American Dream.
The fact is, there is little support for Trump’s decision outside of his startlingly loyal base. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sen. John McCain, the ACLU and former President Barack Obama are all part of the massive and unlikely alliance fighting to protect these contributing members of society. Up to 15 states and the District of Columbia have already filed a lawsuit against the president’s decision.
Even corporations and Wall Street are concerned about the end of DACA. According to Forbes, the economic impact of trashing DACA could reduce U.S. growth by $280 billion. Other estimates, one from the Center for American Progress, suggest the reduction of economic output could be as high as $460 billion over the next decade. That’s a massive amount of money to lose just to achieve an inhumane campaign promise that appeals to white supremacists.
A running theme in Trump’s campaign was always centered around immigration, with the proposed border wall the prime example. The decision to roll back DACA, which has been condemned from both sides of the aisle, as previously mentioned, is a clear appeal to his base as his ratings continue to free fall. Said base, filled with people that demonize DACA recipients and accuse them of taking away American jobs, simply haven’t checked their facts.
According to a study done by the Cato Institute in January, “The majority [of DACA recipients] are still students and 17 percent are pursuing an advanced degree. By contrast, most recipients of H-1B visas are between 25 and 34 and hold either a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree. In short, they appear to be a close reflection of what DACA recipients will look like a few years from now as they complete their educations.”
These people are not unlawful criminals, as they have often been painted by Trump’s far-right supporters and Republican allies in Congress. They are motivated, educated, and belong here just as much as any of us do. It is also important to note that those with a significant criminal record aren’t even eligible for DACA, debunking any claims of Dreamers of embodying great impropriety.
Essentially, in its most basic form, this is a compassion issue. DACA protects people that, while not born here, are spent the vast majority of their lives living and working alongside us. They are in our kindergarten classes and our dorm rooms. They are our coworkers and maybe even our bosses. One DACA recipient even died saving lives in the recent Houston floods.
They are like any of us, the only difference being bureaucratic. When the “Dreamers” came here, they had no more say in where they were going than any of us did as toddlers; they were brought along for the ride. And because of that, all they know is America. This is where they grew up, built a life, and pursued their dreams. Taking all of that away and forcing them to start over in a place they have never called home due to a choice that wasn’t theirs to make is inhumane.
For those who care about defending a “right to life,” here are 800,000 lives ready for your defense. Call your representatives and senators and let them know you demand protections for Dreamers. Duquesne was built on serving God by serving others, and this is our chance to stand up and help protect the American dream these people so desire and so deserve.