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DACA

What It Is, What's Happening, and What to Do

On September 3, the political magazine Politico released an article that announced that president Trump has decided to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) with a six month delay. While countless protests have already occurred as a response to the President's decision to end DACA, not many people actually know what it is and what it does. 

What It Is and Who It Affects

DACA is a program started via executive order by President Obama in 2012. Because of its heavy impact on immigration law and unilateral creation, many individuals (mostly conservatives) have called the program unconstitutional and demand that it be ended. The program protects certain undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children. While it does not grant them legal status, it does protect them from immediate deportation. Those protected by DACA are known as "Dreamers." The average Dreamer is around the age of 26 and not a single protected individual has a criminal record. The individuals pay a $500 fee every two years to renew their protections which brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to the government. A study done by American Progress found that 5% of those protected by DACA started their own businesses (only 3.1% of the American public start their own business) which creates more job opportunities for everyone.

The Issues Surrounding DACA

Because of the belief (mostly with conservatives) that DACA is unconstitutional, many have called out for the program to be ended. In fact, Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 on the promise that he would end the program. Now he is attempting to make good on his promise and is announcing that the program will be terminated but with a six month delay. This decision means that the effects of DACA's termination (the effects are predicted to be widespread disapproval) will be felt in around March of 2018, just months before the crucial midterm elections. The backlash over DACA's removal will be so great that if Trump continues on with his current plan to end the program, it will undoubtedly cost the Republicans numerous seats in 2018 elections. Another issue is that it really isn't the President's job to decide what is unconstitutional and what is not. A better plan to end the "unconstitutional" program would be to get the state Attorney Generals to file suits and let the courts deal with it. But getting rid of DACA doesn't just mean that over 800,000 undocumented immigrants will no longer be protected. It also means that 800,000 people will no longer be able to work in the country. According to American Progress, the individuals that are protected by DACA are projected to contribute an estimated $460 BILLION to the United States' GDP over the next decade. Remove these individuals and you lose a potential $460 billion in GDP, you lose jobs created by the Dreamers, and you lose hundreds of millions in renewal fees biennially. 

What to Do About It

More and more people have become concerned about the impending end of DACA, but not many know what to do or help out. If you oppose the program's removal, you can and should contact your local representatives and urge them to defend the program. You could also urge them to introduce and support the BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow Our Economy Act) which has been in and out of Congress for years but has never actually been passed. The passing of BRIDGE, although a tougher option, will provide a more permanent solution to the issue. While the future of the program of those protected by it is uncertain, one thing remains clear: nobody wins if Trump follows his current plan to kill the program.

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