Insights into the DACA Program
By: Katie Doherty
If you’ve been on the internet at all these past few weeks, I’m sure you’ve come across the term DACA. Repeal this and deport that. With all of these opinions and accusations flying everywhere, it’s hard to know what’s really going on out there. Let’s break it down.
What is DACA?
DACA stands for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It’s a program that was introduced in 2012 by the Obama administration. On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal thereafter. This does not give them lawful status, but instead allows them to stay in the United States, without citizenship. These people still pay taxes and into government programs like Social Security.
How many people are enrolled in the program?
There are currently more than 750,000 Dreamers in the United States. That’s less than a half of a percent of the population. Most arrived from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. There are also several thousand from Asia, primarily South Korea and the Philippines. They reside in every state, with the largest concentrations in California (222,795), Texas (124,300), New York (41,970), Illinois (42,376) and Florida (32,795).
But, if we leave them here, won’t they steal jobs away from Americans?
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics doesn’t think so. “There is no evidence of that (about DACA immigrants stealing jobs). Repealing DACA is particularly wrongheaded as economic policy.” There are a few reasons why this is the case. One is that the job market is really strong now. Actually, unemployment rates are low, and there are many job openings at this point in time (according to the economic research firm Perryman Group). DACA recipients are well educated, with college degrees, and they tend to be employed in higher skill jobs than illegal immigrants.
What is President Trump doing about the program?
Well, during his campaign, he promised to reverse DACA, and his supporters seemed largely in support of this. However, he has backtracked stating that the fate of dreamers was very difficult for him, and later that he “we love dreamers”. Though on September 7th, he did revoke DACA, however he’s given Congress 6 months to figure out how exactly to do this without major uproar. We’ll see how that goes.
Now, we sit and wait to see what Congress does. Hopefully it ends up on the right side of history.