Opinion: A new plan for the dreamers
“President Donald Trump ends the DACA program”. This headline has been splashed across local and national newspapers since Tuesday, September fifth. The DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) protects the nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. According to Tal Kopan in her CNN article, President Trump’s decision to disband DACA in hopes to lower the unemployment rate, lighten taxes, and raise wages, 300,000 people could lose their current status by 2018.
While many agree with President Donald Trump’s decision to end the DACA program in hopes to better our economy, there are many reasons to push for congress to find a solution to preserve the program’s protections and benefits.
Although the DACA program never officially legalized their participants ending DACA would result in the biggest criminalization of immigrants in American history. DACA is a program based around the protection of those who were brought into this country as children and without a say in the matter. America was built by and for immigrants. America is the land of the free and for many war torn countries and countries living in poverty America is seen as their only hope. So many of these DACA recipients, or dreamers, don’t know or even remember life outside of the ones they had in America. The thought of being deported back to a country they hardly, if at all know, could be a very scary thought.
With the average dreamer being 25 years old, the likelihood that they are a part of the working class and are active members of society is pretty high. For example, a very famous YouTube star, David Dobrik, is a dreamer. He is an active member in society, he pays bills, he has a job, and he even paid $400,000 in taxes just last year. Besides David’s location of birth being different from most Americans, what makes him any less of a citizen than you and me? So many dreamers strive everyday to improve their lives and the lives of others the same way we do.
Another example of a college aged Dreamer would be Valentina Garcia Gonzalez, a junior at Dartmouth College. Valentina remembers living in constant fear after her and her family had overstayed their tourist visa from Uruguay when she was six years old. “My family’s garage is full of boxes ready to move and leave. We have the mentality of readiness and preparation for the worst,” Gonzalez said in an interview for APM reports. Valentina talks about her strive to go to college and how she pushed herself to work for what she wanted. But now with DACA’s end near she’s afraid that everything she has worked for will be taken away.
So, here you are, in college, maybe working a part time job, enjoying the freedom of living away from your parents and being young. How different would your world be if someone decided that the life you are living today is no longer legal, no longer accepted. Your fate is in the hands of people you don’t even know and over the next six months every decision concerning your future in this country is up to someone else. That is the reality dreamers face. Dreamers work, pay bills and taxes, take part in their community, go to school, and obey the laws. They are a part of our society, they are a part of our country. Our economic downfalls are due to the country as a whole, not just those who move here later on in life. Our unemployment rate is not due to “foreigners coming and taking our jobs,” because they act and are just as much a citizen as you and me.
Some may say that DACA was an “unconstitutional exercise of authority” as Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated. Creating DACA “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs go to illegal aliens,” Sessions said in an article by Mark Moore from the New York Post.
I disagree with Sessions. If it were true that hundreds of thousands of Americans were denied these jobs now taken by illegal immigrants, my question is, why aren't Americans already filling those positions? Why would the employer hire an illegal immigrant over an American citizen? No one can blame “illegal aliens” for taking the jobs that many Americans would refuse to do. Faulting dreamers for America’s unemployment rates is an overstatement.
President Trump has left congress with six months to find a replacement program for DACA in order to keep the dreamers protected. As I have previously stated, America’s economic downfall and high unemployment rates are not a result of the dreamers being here. Instead, that is an excuse for the government to cut their funding. If there is no replacement for DACA, 300,000 people will have lost their current status by 2018. There are many reasons to push for a replacement program for DACA, some are moral and others are economic purposes, but without a replacement America will certainly suffer. With the information you have learned, I urge you to call your local representative and tell them why we need a replacement for DACA. Do all you can to help your fellow citizens remain your citizen. Just one call can help your neighbors and friends remain in a country they grew up in.
Duluth Senator Eric Simonson: 651-296-4188
House Representative Liz Olson: 651-296-4246