Opinion

DACA: Point and Counter-Point

Con:

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA, has been a very controversial topic within the media lately. It has become especially prevalent after President Trump decided to rescind it for six months. Before I begin my proposal as to why I agree with the decision to rescind this policy, something needs to be clear.

This issue, like most policy issues, has to be looked at logically. Viewing policy through an emotional lens, as easy as it may be, is detrimental when implementing successful and well-thought-out policy. I would also like to state that my opinion of this policy is purely my own. I’m not arguing in favor of President Trump’s decision or against it.

The United States is a nation of laws and without these laws, this country would spiral out of control, as other countries have. We have laws against murder, stealing, etc. One specific law we have is against illegal immigration into the U.S. There is a sign at the border that clearly states, “If you are entering the U.S. without presenting yourself to an Immigration Officer, you may be arrested and prosecuted for violating U.S. Immigration and Custom Laws.” Those who are in the U.S. that hold no citizenship are here illegally, plain and simple. They are breaking the law and should not be allowed to stay here.

Granted, there are some instances when it is not so simple. When this becomes tricky is when we delve into the special cases. The specific cases that DACA refers to are the children of illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors (under 18) and have only known the U.S. as their home. This is the fault of the parents, not the child. First and foremost, the parents should’ve been thinking about the implications that this would have on their children, not to mention how dangerous crossing the border illegally can be. And while the minors might not have had a say in whether they wanted to enter the U.S. or not, they would still be here illegally.

To combat this problem, President Obama made a statement in the Rose Garden on June 15, 2012 that later was officially implemented through a memorandum from the Secretary of Homeland Security at the time, Janet Napolitano. Pew Research estimated that this would benefit 1.7 million immigrant youths. This is because in the U.S., you can accomplish anything no matter where you come from. This belief plays into why I am in favor of rescinding DACA.

It is completely understandable why many politicians on both sides don’t want DACA to end altogether. Immigrant youths under the program are going to school and have jobs, benefitting the public and the U.S. as a whole. I come from the Central Valley, and I know that many immigrants work in the fields so that we can purchase fresh produce in our grocery stores or eat in our cafeterias.

But there are also illegal immigrants who have not been positively beneficial to society. Some immigrants under DACA might have come here as children and grown up here, but haven’t contributed as others have. This is why I believe that a new policy should be implemented that looks at immigrant youth under DACA on a case-by-case basis.

If the person in question is going to school and has career aspirations or is already working, I believe they should be in line to receive their citizenship. But if the individual is seen to have a criminal record or has not been contributing to society like the rest of us, Immigration and Customs Enforcement should deport them. Some might say that is harsh, even unpatriotic. What about those in line patiently waiting for their citizenship – how do you think they feel?

It’s no secret that our immigration system is broken, and I hope that our new administration can fix it. The one aspect that I truly believe in, that should determine whether or not someone is allowed to become a citizen in this country, is that they will be willing to “Make America Great Again.”

Chris Osborne is a senior majoring in political science.

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Pro:

“El pueblo unido jamás será vencido” or “the people united will never be defeated,” has been echoing in every major city in the U.S. after President Trump made initial comments regarding ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA was created under the Obama administration to give 800,000 undocumented immigrants temporary protection. It allows people who came to the U.S. under the age of eighteen temporary protection from deportations – it was created after a decade-long fight for the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act was legislation created in 2001 intended to solve the problematic immigration structure of this country. It’s nearly impossible for undocumented people to get any type of legal status if they have entered the country illegally. This makes the risk of deportation and consequences of being undocumented extremely high for children.

The DREAM Act gives protection and a path to permanent residency. However, after a decade of delay in Congress, the DACA program took off for temporary relief. President Trump’s comments on rescinding DACA not only creates a huge risk for the thousands of individuals who are currently protected under it, but acts as a major blow to the fight of DREAMers and the uncertainty of their legal protections.

Living only a few miles from the border, San Diego residents are reminded every day of the significance of a line that was created to dictate who is our neighbor and who is not. In the story of Luke 10, Jesus is asked who our neighbors ought to be. His response was not of the person who lives on the correct side of the border. It was the Samaritan, or the foreigner to the Jews, that helped Jesus. Our neighbors, as Christ followers, are those who show mercy regardless of arbitrary divides we create among land.

We are called to be protectors of the disenfranchised – the orphans of the state in need of protection are DACA recipients and all undocumented people that the system tries to oppress. During Hurricane Harvey, Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents left 50 immigrant women and children stranded at a bus station. ICE perpetually kidnaps and abuses our friends, families, and siblings in Christ. It is our responsibility to prevent them from gaining more control in our communities and to boldly protect one another.

The conversations regarding DACA need to be absent of any economic argument, regardless of the liberal or conservative direction it might take. Neither of the two predominant political parties have been active in the fight for immigrant rights. There were more deportations under the Obama presidency than any other in history. However, DACA is able to materially change the conditions for undocumented people in the status quo which gives us the reason to support it at all costs.

The reason people fight for immigration reform is because it’s a struggle for the livelihood and dignity of our neighbors. DACA recipients and other undocumented people are not strangers or criminals that can be simplified to a price tag. They are your classmates, coworkers, and friends. The message of the Gospel is to love one another, no matter what side of the border they might be on. A part of loving one another is protecting each other from the violence that is tied to deportations.

The protection of DACA is only the first step of the long fight ahead in regards to immigration reform. Christians must be on the front lines of the advocacy and support of undocumented people. Moreover, the push for The DREAM Act must be relentless. The overall goal is to be living in a world with open borders or no borders at all. The body of Christ does not have any arbitrary lines separating its people.

Ali Cleveland is a junior majoring in political science.

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Added Point:

Across the United States, the effects of President Trump’s decision to rescind Barack Obama’s 2012 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) legislation have been felt by communities both far from and within a few miles of our borders. The initial announcement of the impending end of DACA was met with upset and protest from “dreamers,” or people who believe in pro-immigration policies benefitting undocumented immigrants, and American-born supporters alike, however protesters often overlook the burdens that the DACA legislation posed to Americans under the Obama administration.

While the subject is a sensitive one, particularly because many observers of the legislation’s change associate DACA’s removal with “separating families” and “deporting children,” pro-immigration activists tend to forget that excessive acceptance of illegal immigrants is detrimental to the country in more ways than one. DACA, over the last few years of its existence, has caused huge consumption of tax dollars and welfare programs, enabled undocumented immigrants to take jobs from Americans, and provided sanctuary for law-breaking immigrants.

First and foremost, families or individuals who arrived illegally have been given greater priority in welfare services and jobs than naturalized citizens, and they tend to rely solely on welfare dollars more than a naturalized or American-born family of equal economic distress. Welfare services use taxpayer’s money to fund the lives of undocumented families, and it is taxing on hardworking Americans who are actively providing for their own families. Ultimately, American taxpayers are paying for undocumented citizens to thrive on the welfare system – a majority of these families are putting no effort into their own lives to provide for their families and are not making attempts to take themselves off of welfare.

According to a report called The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer, DACA has cost taxpayers, since its inception in 2012, $7.8 billion per year. Added on with Obamacare issued to DACA recipients and other qualified individuals, taxpayers would pay an additional $7.2 billion, which adds up to $15 billion. They also pointed out that there are approximately 3.7 million unlawful immigrant households in the U.S., in which these households impose a net fiscal burden of around $54.5 billion per year.

Amnesty for unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for U.S. taxpayers including public education, welfare benefits, and other benefits and services. Although not all illegal families rely solely on welfare and do work hard to provide for their families, attempt to learn English, and provide for themselves and take themselves off of welfare dollars, most illegal families simply rely on the government and do not challenge themselves to benefit their families and society as a whole. Instead, they use the government and taxpayers’ money to care for their family through food stamps, free education, free healthcare, and other benefits. Due to their excessive dependence on the government, there is less of an incentive for undocumented families to provide for themselves and remove themselves from welfare programs.

Second, in regards to the effect substantial immigration has on the job market, many Americans side with President Trump’s “America First” policy despite the popular pro-immigration cries for affirmative action in job selection. According to priority polls conducted by NumbersUSA, there is roughly seven-to-one public support for Donald Trump’s argument that immigration reforms should aid American employees first before aiding companies or foreign migrants. The group’s poll showed that 61 percent of people “strongly” support “setting up rules to ensure that businesses give first preference for jobs to American workers and legal immigrants already in this country before businesses can ask for new immigrant workers.” Only 10% of respondents “somewhat” or “strongly” opposed that proposed rule.

A similar poll in Michigan also showed that 74% of people say “business should be required to recruit and train from groups with the highest unemployment,” while only 11% said, “government should continue to bring in new immigrants to compete for jobs.” Too often, the affirmative action policies enacted in the job market put skilled legal immigrants at a disadvantage against their illegal counterparts, where your origin and immigrant status takes the priority in the process rather than the importance of the more qualified applicant.

Finally, additional concerns involve the risk of harboring undocumented immigrants who have a history of crime on their record or have the potential to. Observers of immigration trends would hypothesize that immigrants are fleeing persecution in their native countries, seeking asylum, searching for a better life or evading laws that they broke in their own countries. Crimes committed by illegal immigrants is frequent in the Mexican border states, where 38.6% of all federal cases filed in 2016 were immigration-related. Nearly 22% were drug-related, 19.7% were violent crimes and 10.2% involved white-collar offenses that include a full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals,

This is hardly earth-shattering news – the southern border region has been known for years for its high crime rate compared to the rest of the country. In 2014, illegal immigrants accounted for nearly 75% of federal drug sentences according to the United States Sentencing Commission. It also found that illegals were involved in nearly 17% of drug-trafficking sentences and over 33% of federal sentences overall. As one can imagine, the amount of undocumented immigrants committing crimes near our borders and in “sanctuary cities” poses a threat to communities and national security due to involvement in drug- and human-trafficking and other crimes.

Overall, President Trump is keeping to his original campaign promise of rescinding DACA once he reached the White House, and is thus keeping his promise to the American people. Although it is important for his future in office and for reelection, he is not breaking his promises with the public, and is fulfilling his campaign promises for the country.

Madison Long is a sophomore majoring in political science.

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