Political Perspectives: An end to DACA

Political perspectives is a column that focuses on providing different opinions on important political issues from UNCW students.

Genevieve Guenther

Political perspectives is a column that focuses on providing different opinions on important political issues from UNCW students.

Jack Devries, Contributing Writer

Announced by the Trump Administration on Tuesday, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy put in place by the Obama administration will be shut down in six months. 

DACA, founded in 2012, was instituted because of Congress’s failure to pass the DREAM Act, an amnesty program offered to people who have immigrated illegally with their parents before their 16th birthday. Recipients must meet a list of criteria, such as being enrolled in school, having no felonies or significant misdemeanors and have lived continuously in the United States since 2007. Sometimes referred to as Dreamers, about 790,000 recipients have been enrolled in DACA since 2012. 

The response to this executive action over the years has evolved into much more than a partisan fight. In 2013, the House of Representatives voted 224-201 to defund DACA, citing Obama’s lack of authority to waive or create immigration law. However, because DACA is funded by its own $495 application fee, it receives no money from Congress and can’t be defunded. 

Congress was left with two choices: wait for another president or fight the case in court. In 2014, Obama tried to expand DACA and make more people eligible. Subsequently, Texas led a lawsuit with 25 other states, and was given an injunction on the expansions. Eventually the case grew and was met with a 4-4 Supreme Court decision that kept the injunction in place. During campaign, Trump indicated that he would be ending the program if elected, even against the wishes of some congressional Republicans. Regardless of the politics, states are coming forward to sue Trump for his lack of straight repeal. Texas and 9 other states plan to file suit for treating illegal immigrants too leniently.  

Many Republicans have spoken out against the outright appeal of DACA. Longtime GOP figure heads like Paul Ryan have insisted that Congress can fix illegal immigration with legislation, while others argue that giving the decision to Congress will create an unwanted amnesty program. Giving DACA a deadline of six months, Trump will essentially force Republicans to pick a side. While the timing seems strange, there may be a method to Trump’s madness. With 2018 midterm elections around the corner, Trump can keep immigration reform in the spotlight and find out just how loyal his incumbent senators are. 

When the program eventually comes to an end, what are we to do with 800,000 illegal immigrants? Is it fair to let them stay here forever and implement an amnesty program, or is it more important to enforce the law and forcibly remove those that broke it? Regrettably, all options have financial costs. Whether for deportation or amnesty, the price will be high.  

The DACA program has without a doubt impacted the American economy in various ways. While DACA recipients pay taxes, and purchase goods, they also heavily inflate the amount of low-skill workers in the job market. This means that corporations don’t have to raise their wages as there is no demand for the large supply of low skill workers. Unfortunately, this burden most of the time falls on American-born minorities. 

It is important to remember that when large corporations and CEOs come out to defend DACA, it’s not just for the publicity, but also because they are making a profit. A program that was meant for helping people with no legal status has turned into something that is being abused by corporations and in turn lining the pockets of lobbyists. The bottom line is that this program was forced on the American people by an executive overreach, and needs to be removed, whether an amnesty program is needed to replace it is up to congress alone.