On Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, to provide

On June
5th 2012 Obama enacted the
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, to provide a temporary pardon
from deportation for young undocumented immigrants who have been largely raised
in the United States. It was an attempt to help remedy the precarious state
may undocumented immigrants existed in. Simply put, the program targets the
children of undocumented immigrants. DACA
allows recipients protection from deportation that has to be renewed every 2
years along with eligibility for higher education, driver’s licenses and work
permits. DACA is not just a free handout. To be eligible for DACA the applicant must have been born after June
15, 1981, came to the United States before their 16th birthday, and have lived
here since June 15, 2007, or 5 years before DACA was created. Additionally, the
applicants must have completed high school or obtain a GED, be in school, or to
have been honorably discharged from the armed forces. All applicants must have a clean record. They cannot have
been convicted of a felony, certain misdemeanors, or pose a threat to national
security. If they meet all of these qualifications there is still a $495
processing fee to apply. Every
person that submits an application for DACA is given an extensive background
check by homeland security. Becoming a “dreamer” is no walk in the park.

Dreamers are the individuals that benefit from
DACA. They were brought here as children and for most Dreamers, the U.S. is the
place they call home. The term “dreamers” is based on the previous attempt at immigration
reform called The DREAM Act. This act was introduced in 2001 but never passed. Currently,
there are over 800,000 Dreamers that have been approved for DACA (USCIS). Common countries Dreamers hail from
include Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Shoichet). A survey
of 3000 DACA recipients was conducted in June 2015 as part of the ongoing
Administrative Relief Impact and Implementation Study conducted by National Immigration Law Center, and Center
for American Progress provided many facts on dreamers. The report states that “the median age of DACA participants is 25, and
the median age when they first entered the country was 6. Over 28 percent have
a bachelor’s degree or higher, including almost 36 percent of those over age
25.  Of those still in school, more than
70 percent are pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher.  Over 90 percent are employed (many presumably
while also still in school), and their median annual earnings are $32,000
($37,600 for those over age 25)” (Wong).  A prevailing misconception about Dreamers is
that DACA allows them to reside here legally and “mooch” off the government. However,
this could not be further from the truth and is just a statement that only
shows ones’ ignorance of the subject. DACA recipients are not granted permanent
residence or citizenship and are ineligible for things like the Medicaid. Furthermore,
they are the only immigrants with who are ineligible for ACA coverage
(Wiley). Even without being able to apply for those government programs, DACA recipients
still pay taxes. A report
published by the Institute on Taxation and economic policy found that “undocumented
immigrants contribute nearly $12 billion a
year and that DACA recipients are also probable to have higher paying jobs once enrolled in DACA” (Gee). Both of these
losses would no doubt hurt the economy.

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On Tuesday, September 5th,
Trump’s administration announced they would be rescinding DACA (Mccaskill). This
was a result of 10 state attorney generals who had written to Trump, over the
summer, asking him to end DACA and giving him a September 5 ultimatum. All
throughout Trumps candidacy he had ensured the public that immigration would be
one of the first things he tackled if he was elected. After months of not
taking action, the letter was written, sent, and received, leaving the Trump
administration in a scramble to act fast or prepare for a legal challenge from
them. Once the news about the
rescindment came out, while expected, the reality still hit many hard. In an
article about the program ending Politico reported that “almost 8 out of 10
voters support DACA, and Dreamers are
known to be the immigrant group most sensitive to Congress and its Congress who
will end up making the final call” (Mccaskill). Since
the announcement, they were given six months to fill in the gaps before any
currently enrolled Dreamers were outright affected. With their March 5th
deadline approaching there still seems to be no agreed-upon solution. Currently,
they are no longer accepting new applicants into DACA, but renewal applications
were accepted until October 5th, 2017.

response to Trump’s call to action, legislation has been introduced by U.S.

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), James Lankford (R-OK), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). They
proposed the SUCCEED Act which has comparable requirements to apply as DACA.

The main difference is that rather than having a two-year renewal period, the
SUCCEED Act suggests that “any recipient 18 or older is required to commit to
pursuing one or a combination of three merit-based tracks: maintain gainful
employment for 48 out of 60 months, earn a post-secondary/vocational degree, or
serve honorably in the military for at least three years” (Kim). In addition to
that they will have to renew it every five years after initial acceptance. If,
after fifteen years, the person still meets the qualifications, they must apply
for a green card, a provision that DACA never offered.


Conclusion = Every immigrant faces hardship to live in
America. All immigrants give up a lot to live in another country. They give up
a life of knowing the culture and language to move to a new place because they
believe like each of us that they will find a better place to call home. DACA is
more than just a law, it is hope. DACA is the light that thousands rely on to
keep them safe and motivated.