Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, is a program that grants work permits to illegal immigrants who arrived in The United States as children. This policy was penned by the Obama Administration, without Congressional approval in 2012. It was created in response to legislators refusal to pass the DREAM Act which aimed to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented minors. In the past five years, nearly 800,000 people have been able to remain in the country they were born in, despite their parent’s country of origin because of DACA.
Now, it appears President Trump will be scrapping this program with a six-month delay. In my mind, there are two reasons why Trump would eliminate this program.
- Obama received much criticism for creating DACA, and his opponents claimed the President alone does not have the authority to create immigration policy. And some state attorneys general and other politicians have threatened Trump with legal challenges if he does not end the program. So on a maybe positive note, Trump might be signaling Congress to step up and create legislation to protect these minors as DACA was ‘illegally’ implemented.
- On a darker note, Trump might not care about anyone this policy effects. And he may just be playing to his far-right base.
If reason #1 is Trump’s true intentions, he is incredibly foolish given Congress’ inability to create any meaningful legislation since Trump took office. Reason #2 seems more in line with President Trump’s previous decisions.
Either way, Trump’s desire to eliminate DACA has spurred debate on the program’s validity.
Oklahoma’s Republican Senator James Lankford gave a powerful and logical argument in defense of DACA:
“It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally … However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents.”
Simply put, children should not have to suffer for the actions of their parents. The kids that will be affected by this are ones that have grown up in the US and identify as Americans. We should not forget our history and position as a wealthy superpower by ignoring the needs of those that are disadvantaged or different than us.