Written by Eric Gasa
For some conservatives, the harsh reality of deporting young DACA beneficiaries may be a pill too hard to swallow. Call it humanitarian remorse, but sometimes a party’s base betrays its best wishes; a policy that raised the living standards of immigrants in the U.S. has now become a thorn in the GOP’s side and conscience.
Pundits praising President Trump’s repeal of DACA must face the stark reality it spells for thousands of Mexican immigrants in this country, many of whom are pursuing education, careers, and raising families. The act’s removal will unnecessarily put these lives on hold, not because they broke the law but because they are the children of undocumented immigrants. In the U.S. simple status can illegitimatize one’s right to reside in the land one’s parents fought so hard to reach.
Since 2012, DACA has transformed the lives of 800,000 undocumented children living in the U.S. according to HuffPost. Under the policy, these youths were protected from deportation or being barred from employment opportunities. For these children, DACA offered fertile ground for these individuals to take root and grow.
Studies by the Institute for Research and Labor Employment have shown that DACA increased the wages and labor participation of Dreamers, while the Center for Poverty Research concluded that the act has increased mental health outcomes in children. It has also shown no detriment to native-born workers’ employment while still bolstering local economies and providing jobs.
HuffPost also reports that ending DACA would lead to $460 billion decrease in GDP over the next decade. In New York for example, Dreamers contribute $2.5 billion to the state economy, and another $400 million in New Mexico. In California, where Dreamers can be found in greater numbers, workers added $11 billion to the annual economy.
For a party that prides itself for its fiscal wisdom, the GOP is blind to the void that DACA beneficiaries fill in this country as workers and contributing members to American society.
So, what is the Republican angle on DACA?
In 2016, Trump’s bread and butter on the campaign trail was the promise of a border wall. To many of his populist supporters, the wall aligned with their nativist, anti-immigration stance. Even though DACA has done far more good than harm, it remains a symbol of Obama-era policy and government intervention to the Republican gaze. Though many moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney have no argument with the act, other hardliners vowed for its repeal for the sake of political congruence.
The Trump administration rescinded the policy on September 5, 2017 but full removal has been delayed for a further six months.
In all reality, Americans are no safer with the deportation of Dreamers. Trump’s decision is not only cruel but pointless. These beneficiaries are not so-called thugs, drug dealers, or human traffickers, but simple people who journeyed to the U.S. for better jobs and opportunities. Their children, and their children’s children will come to love the nation that’s given them the chance to become Americans– if allowed.
The U.S. is a country that welcomes those who work hard to contribute to society. DACA’s removal swiftly shuts the door on this worldview while thousands are stopped just short of the threshold.
With DACA’s repeal, our nation stands at a crossroads between progress and apathy.
About the Writer:
Eric Gasa is a an aspiring freelance writer, and recent graduate of Ozarks Technical Community College from Springfield, MO. He has experience in ghost writing, cultural criticism, feature articles, and interviews. Eric is also a frequent contributor of The Spectrum Post, Creative Media Times, The Hummingbyrd, and The Waster rock blog. You can read his latest thoughts on albums, bands, and politics on his blog, www.thelocaljoke.wordpress.com