Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy that allows illegal immigrants that entered the country when below sixteen years to receive a renewable two-year period stay and eligibility for a work permit (CitizenPath, 2014). This policy was established by Obama’s administration (CitizenPath, 2014). As of August 2017, this policy had enabled about 800,000 young immigrants to legally stay in the United States (U.S.) (Pope, 2016). On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration revoked a section of DACA policy, but the enforcement will start in February 2018. The rescindment of the expanded DACA policy risks making many individuals be illegal immigrants.
DACA policy allowed qualifying immigrants to escape deportation and obtain renewable two-year work permits. To apply, an immigrant was required to have entered the U.S. when below 16 years, have resided in the country since 2007 and was younger than 31 years on the day of its implementation (Pope, 2016). The applications for DACA status started on August 15, 2012 (CitizenPath, 2014). So far, this policy has enabled hundreds of thousands of young individuals to reside, school, and work in the U.S.
In November 2014, Obama attempted to expand DACA by introducing the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) (Pope, 2016). This new policy would remove the age restriction for individuals who were over 31 years when DACA. It would also adjust the period that an applicant must have been continuously residing in the US from June 15, 2007, to January 1, 2010. Finally, it would expand the DACA relief period from two to three years (CitizenPath, 2014). Unfortunately, this policy ended in an impasse in the Supreme Court after 25 states filed a case blocking the expansion.
On September 2017, the current Trump administration announced that it has formally revoked the 2014 actions creating DAPA and expanding DACA. The government’s action is an important public policy issue since some illegal immigrants hoped that the pending legislation would have allowed them to enjoy equal benefits with American citizens. Also affected are people who did not qualify to enjoy the DACA privileges because of minor issues. These are reasons like they were more than 31 years when DACA policy was implemented.
The rescindment of the DAPA policy will negatively affect America’s society because families will be separated. Given that parents who entered the country illegally do not qualify for DAPA, they will be deported, while some of their children who qualify for the existing DACA may remain (Pope, 2016). Similarly, there will be division among couples depending on their migration status. In the U.S., there are many relationships between illegal immigrants and people who qualify to reside in the country. Therefore, the implementation of this policy will result in divorces since individuals who would have otherwise qualified for DAPA will be deported.
Another major reason that has made this policy a public concern is its effects on employers and employees. The revocation of DAPA will make competent illegal immigrants, who would have qualified to live in the U.S., be deported. Among employees, they will lose stable and well-paying jobs, and some will have to restart their lives in their native countries (Gerstein, 2017). Consequently, the deportation will result in them incurring a lot of social and economic costs because they will lose friends and property that they own in the U.S. As for employers, they will lose highly competent and talented employees, some that they have trained for years. Therefore, this law will result in high economic and social costs to the country.
The implementation of this policy will have negative effects on the education of most students. Some of the individuals who qualify for DACA are students who come from families of illegal immigrants. Therefore, this policy will separate them from their parents who will be deported back to their native countries. Obviously, these separations will have negative psychological effects on them. In addition, others will drop out of school due to the lack of enough finances to pay for their education (Pope, 2016). In addition, some of the illegal immigrants that work in various positions in academic institutions will lose their jobs. Consequently, some institutions will have to search and retrain new individuals who will replace them once that have been deported.
According to the Associated Press (2017), the new policy will result in adverse effects on the economy. The Associated Press notes that illegal immigrants do not usurp jobs that would have been done by Americans. In fact, by allowing immigrants to the U.S., the country benefits by enjoying new skills that these people possess. In addition, immigrants also increase the demand for locally available products, which leads to economic growth.
The revocation of the DACA policy as it had been filed in the Supreme Court will have a lot of social and economic costs. In particular, families will be separated and workers will be deported to their native countries. In order to avert such a problem in future, the U.S. should restructure its current immigration policies so that they may cater for families leaving in the country and prevent further illegal immigration.
Associated Press. (2017). Trump’s harsh message to immigrants could drag on economy. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/09/06/us/politics/ap-us-trump-immigration-economic-impact.html.
CitizenPath. (2014, December 23). Expanded DACA encourages more to apply. Retrieved from https://citizenpath.com/expanded-daca-eligibility/.
Gerstein, J. (2017, September 9). Trump won’t alter status of current Dreamers. Politico. Retrieved from http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/15/trump-immigration-dreamers-status-239621.
Pope, N. (2016). The effects of DACAmentation: The impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on unauthorized immigrants. Journal of Public Economics, 143, 98-114.