Five years ago today, the Obama administration began accepting the first round of applications from young immigrants for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA. The program helps those who came to the United States as undocumented children. Successful applicants receive work authorization and deferred action, or the inability to be removed from the U.S. But many DACA advocates are worried, given a pending September 5th deadline, the program faces a threat of being overturned and brought to an end in ten states.
Since it’s beginning in 2012, 800,000 DREAMers have been granted this temporary benefit that must be renewed every two years. Their renewal is based on continuously residing in the U.S. after submitting their DACA request, not leaving the U.S. without advance parole, and not being convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
In June, a White House spokesman told Reuters “no final determination has been made” in regards to whether or not the Trump administration would roll back the program. While 45 has campaigned on a virulent immigration stance, he’s said before that he would help DACA recipients. He has yet outline any specific plans.
In a press briefing on Monday, Sen. Kamala Harris, defended the program, said many DACA recipients have “only known this country as their own — this is their home.”
“Trump should pay attention to his own words when he said we should show great heart in dealing with the young people,” Harris said. “[To get rid of the program] undermines our values as a nation of immigrants.”
Statistics from the Center of American Progress have shown that if DACA were to end, not only would the U.S. lose an estimated 685,000 workers from the nation’s economy, but it would also result in a loss of $460.3 billion from the economy over the next decade. The flourishing economy that President Trump has promised would almost immediately plummet without the proper programming in tact to maintain some of the nation’s hardest workers.
“Right now is a critical time to stand up and demand that the Trump administration does what is right and protect these hard-working immigrants who are contributing to the economic engine of this country,” Gustavo Torres, executive director of immigrant rights group CASA, told NBC.
We have less than a month before the administration has to make a decision on DACA and one thing is for sure — President Trump wouldn’t just be doing hundreds of thousands of kids a disservice, but this nation in its entirety.