Since the start of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the beginning of the Trump administration, the United States has been subject to several anti-Obama policies and ideals. So it comes as no surprise that Trump has decided to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program set by Obama that protects undocumented immigrant youth — including thousands of UC students — that came to the U.S. as children from deportation.
This move by the Trump administration seems rash considering that the reasons given for the program’s rescission by Attorney General Jeff Sessions can be easily disproven and challenged, and that the economic consequences caused by ending DACA have not yet been addressed by political officials.
Sessions argued that the program denies jobs to Americans by allowing “illegal aliens” to receive those jobs, reasoning commonly used by anti-immigration advocates. Additionally, Sessions referred to DACA as unconstitutional; however, this is presumptive considering that the Supreme Court has not ruled on the program’s constitutionality. To this, Sessions added that if DACA continues, it could be considered illegal, to which he further stated that “enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers” and that “failure to enforce the laws in the past has put [the U.S.] at risk of crime, violence and terrorism.” Nevertheless, by saying this, Sessions makes his argument less convincing since first, as it was already stated, DACA is not unconstitutional, and second, DACA protects the lives of immigrants who are obligated by law to pay the same taxes as any other American or legal resident: they are given a Social Security Number and have to file their taxes through the IRS; thus, making them taxpayers that should also be protected by the American law. Furthermore, he implies that this immigration policy puts the country at risk, yet DACA recipients do not have criminal records because if they did, they would not qualify for the program, which means that it is highly unlikely that DACA recipients bring any form of crime into the U.S., a fact that refutes Sessions’ rationale. Therefore, the reasoning for ending DACA is incomplete and lacking information.
The removal of DACA could mean a huge economic loss. According to the Center for American Progress (CAP), the rescission of DACA would result in a loss of $460 billion from the national gross domestic product since around 685,000 people would lose their jobs, creating a major gap in the American economy. In fact, this could affect the 1.1 million new jobs that Trump has been bragging about throughout his presidency because – speaking as an immigrant who has recently gotten jobs and is now a contributor to the American economy – I know that part of those jobs are jobs that belong to immigrants; hence, by taking away their jobs, this number could suffer a steady decrease and Trump’s “economic miracle” would be no more.
However, ending DACA is more than just an economic mistake. By ending DACA, 800,000 people are at risk of deportation. 800,000 people that grew up in the U.S. and most likely do not know the country in which they were born. 800,000 people who are probably as American as any natural-born citizen. Ending DACA is one of the most inhumane policies that the Trump administration has made. These immigrants are not just a number, they are human beings that are at risk of being kicked out of their home.
Nonetheless, ever since Trump’s famous speech during his presidential campaign in which he said that Mexicans are “bringing drugs” and “bringing crime” and that “they’re rapists,” his decision to target a program in which most applicants are from Mexico was to be expected. His presidential campaign and his time in office are both based on immigration and how to reduce it, but without any thorough research that explains what less immigration could cause in this country.
I am an immigrant to the U.S., part of both the immigrant community and the Hispanic and Latinx community, and I cannot sit by as my community is brought down by a small man that insults journalists and uses Twitter as a way to implement official policies. I am part of the lucky number that are considered permanent residents in this country and I do not have to worry about being deported because I am the type of immigrant that the U.S. wants: I am white, I speak English, I have assimilated to this country and I am documented. Although I am not directly affected by this rescission, the fact that I am human makes me conscious that the government’s actions should be deemed unconstitutional.
DREAMers are just as valuable and as important as any white male in office.
Oriana Gonzalez is a second-year literary journalism major and a gender and sexuality studies minor. She can be reached at email@example.com.