By Xin Lin ’18
The Trump Administration has once again jeopardized the future of many immigrants. On September 5, President Trump rescinded an Obama-era executive order that protected 800,000 undocumented immigrants – a victory for anti-immigration hard-liners, but an ordeal for undocumented families.
The program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, provided deportation relief for young adults who were brought to this country illegally as children. According to NBC News, these individuals, called “dreamers,” had to undergo a rigorous background and security checks in exchange for the renewable option to legally live, work, and study in the country. The Trump Administration has deemed this program an “unconstitutional exercise of authority” and claimed it would “put our nation at risk of crime, violence, and terrorism.”
The President’s regressive decision would put dreamers at risk of being deported to a country they haven’t been to in years. These young immigrants are a vital part of the American society – they’re law-abiding, hard-working, and taxpaying. According to The New York Times, about nine in ten pay taxes, and deporting them would reduce the gross domestic product by $400 billion over the next decade. DACA recipients have integrated themselves into the American lifestyle. They’ve started families, pursued careers, and studied in universities. They’re essentially American in every way except on paper.
Since President Trump announced the revocation of DACA, there has been overwhelming support from both Democratic and Republican voters. According to Politico, 76 percent of voters believe dreamers should have a pathway to legalization or citizenship, while only 18 percent think they should be deported. Furthermore, support for dreamers span across party lines: 84 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Independents and 69 percent of Republicans support DACA or similar programs that allow dreamers to stay in the United States. This delineates the necessity for comprehensive immigration reform. It’s against the public’s interest to deport educated young adults who came to America through no fault of their own.
The Trump Administration has given Congress six months to pass legislation that will protect dreamers, but the President has made the process extremely difficult. President Trump hopes to use dreamers as a bargaining chip for his hard-line immigration agenda. According to The New York Times, the President demanded funding for his border wall and the hiring of 10,000 new immigration agents. Furthermore, he wants tougher laws for those seeking asylum and an end to people bringing their extended family to America. All of these proposals are impractical and hinder the opportunity for the President to work alongside Democratic lawmakers. The President’s unrealistic agenda prevents Congress from enacting legislation and endangers the future of dreamers.
There is, however, a rational solution: the Dream Act. According to CNN, under the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (Dream Act), young undocumented immigrants are provided with a pathway to citizenship as long as these individuals obtain an education or serve in the military and have a clean criminal record.
Dreamers are our neighbors, classmates, and colleagues. Their future lies in the hands of Congress. Students should contact their House Representative and Senator to pressure them into putting the Dream Act up for a vote in Congress. New York’s Senators are Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.