Opinion: DACA’s Demise Affects Us All


Ella Mulligan '19, Copy Editor and Writer

Beginning in September, an issue that has been on the minds of many Americans is the survival of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy, more popularly known as DACA.  Under the current administration this protective legislation could be revoked, leaving hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants at risk of being deported.  The decision has been left entirely up to Congress and they have been given a small window of time to decide whether to protect this important legislation.  

DACA was put into effect during the Obama administration in 2012 to protect young children brought over to the United States by their parents in the hopes of having a better life.  To be eligible under the protection of DACA, applicants had to arrive before they were sixteen years old and have lived in the United States since June 15th of 2007.  DACA’s enactment allowed for these undocumented immigrants to obtain a valid driver’s license, enroll in college, and most importantly, legally obtain jobs.  Under DACA, immigrants known commonly as Dreamers can defer from deportation and legally reside in the U.S. for two years without being forced to leave.  However, now that the Trump administration has decided to end the renewal of applications for DACA, many immigrants are now facing the threat of their applications expiring and being deported.

The main issue for these young immigrants is that America is their home. The average age of those entering the United States with their parents is six years old and has caused Dreamers to have very little recollection of their original homelands.  Many of these immigrants are now enrolled in colleges across the country and are even active members in our military.  By deporting hundreds of thousands of young people, the United States will lose so many positive members of our society.  And while many anti-DACA Americans may think that these young immigrants are criminals bringing in drugs and getting a free ride into the United States, nothing could be further from the truth.  Every one of the immigrants that are protected under DACA has to pay income taxes. Also, statistically, Dreamers have much lower incarceration rates than people born in America of the same age and level of education.  Once DACA applications begin to officially start expiring, the U.S could begin to see as many as 938 people lose their protections under DACA per day.  Some may think that there is still hope for Dreamers to remain in the United States.  However, any deal that would protect these young Americans would have to meet an extensive list of criteria that are nearly impossible to follow.

While the lives of so many young, promising immigrants hang in the balance, we must all remind ourselves that these issues are occurring in our own backyard.  While it may seem like a problem so far removed from our daily lives, we forget how many of our friends and neighbors may be under the protection of DACA.  These are people with immeasurable amounts of potential to be active and engaging members in our society.  To send these positive and hopeful young immigrants back to countries they hardly even remember would be not only a tragedy for those under DACA but also to the United States as a whole.