DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was an executive order by President Obama in 2014. It allowed young undocumented immigrants, who were brought to the United States by their parents, to work, drive, and most importantly, remain in the U.S. In order to be eligible for DACA, you needed to be younger than 31 years old, have lived in the U.S. since 2007, and you must have arrived when you were under 16. DACA has helped many young people grow up essentially as U.S. citizens. Unfortunately, if Congress doesn’t find a more permanent solution, President Trump and his administration plan to end DACA in March 2018, even though 66 percent of Americans support DACA. These people are as American as any of us, and they deserve to live their lives like any other citizen.
Whether or not DACA does end, it’s unjust and unfair to those people who are protected by it to put them through this ordeal. They didn’t choose to break the law by coming here; their parents brought them. Why should they have to leave their home? Deporting the kids protected by DACA doesn’t benefit anyone. Kevin Vasquez, who came to the U.S. when he was eight and is protected by DACA, says, “If they take DACA away, I won’t be able to work legally anymore, and I won’t be able to have a driver’s license. Your ID is asked for more and more for security, even at social events such as concerts.’’ It’s a lose-lose-lose. Vasquez loses his job and license, the community loses a hard worker, and America loses face with other countries. Due to poor choices by the Trump administration, America is already losing credibility in the world. If we start deporting people who have done nothing wrong, our moral standards drop lower and lower.
The people protected by DACA help the U.S. in more ways than one. A study conducted earlier this year by the Center for American Progress estimated that the loss of all DACA workers would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by $433 billion over the next 10 years. That’s a huge hit to the U.S. economy. Already trillions of dollars in debt, this would deepen the hole that the government is slowly sinking into. From a strictly business standpoint, deporting these people makes no sense. Why would we send away skilled, motivated workers that we have invested in, to go be professionals in other countries?
A letter stating that “Dreamers are vital to the economy” was backed by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and signed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, among others. In fact, most major companies benefit from the Dreamers, so economically it makes no sense to deport them. Also, look at how it turned out when we gave them a chance. We let them stay, provided they went to college and got a job, and that’s exactly what happened. So we should give more people chances, instead of deporting them. While the economy would be negatively impacted if the Dreamers left, the bigger and more pressing issue is human rights. To be protected by DACA, you must have a clean criminal record. These individuals should be just like regular citizens, but they are treated differently simply because they weren’t born here.
Instead of dividing people by their race, ethnicity, or place of birth, we should come together as a country, as a community. Dreamers are Americans, and should be treated as such. When America is the only home they’ve known, the place they grew up in, then they should be allowed to live here. It isn’t right to end DACA and make hundreds of thousands of people leave. There is no silver lining to President Trump’s plan. Deporting Dreamers benefits no one.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.