Are DACA and the DREAM Act Good for America?
Sheila Kennedy, JD, Professor of Law and Public Policy at Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, in a Nov. 13, 2017 article, “Undocumented Lawbreakers: Trump’s Ongoing Attack on DACA,” available at peacock-panache.com, stated:
“DACA was a short-term, emergency, humanitarian measure extended by President Obama due to persistent Congressional failure to act on desperately needed immigration reforms. Trump’s attack on DACA is further evidence of his willingness to hurt innocent people in furtherance of a white nationalist agenda that–so far as we can tell–is his only agenda. (Other than self-aggrandizement, of course.)
We should certainly deport people who came here illegally and committed serious crimes. We can argue about deporting undocumented people who came here as adults and subsequently committed minor crimes. However, I am unable to conceive of any argument that would justify expelling young people who had no part in the decision to cross the border, who have spent most of their lives in the United States (and often speak only English), and who are contributing to society in a multitude of ways.”Nov. 13, 2017 - Sheila Kennedy, JD
Juan Vargas, MA, JD, California State Representative, in a Sep. 5, 2017 press release, “Rep. Vargas Blasts President Trump for Terminating the DACA Program,” available at vargas.house.gov, stated:
“President Trump is advancing his extremist, anti-immigrant agenda by terminating the DACA program and breaking a promise our country made to nearly 800,000 DREAMers.
Before DACA, young people brought to this country as children were forced to live in the shadows with the fear of being separated from their families and deported from the country they call home. DACA gave these DREAMers an opportunity to step forward with hope, go through a background check process, and have the ability to work legally, get an education, serve the country they love, and make many positive contributions to their communities.
By terminating DACA, President Trump is undermining a successful program and ignoring bipartisan efforts to support DREAMers. The President and his Administration are betraying the values that make America great and turning the lives of families across the country into a nightmare. Congress must act and pass legislation that will protect these young people from a President who is attempting to put an end to their American dream.”Sep. 5, 2017 - Juan Vargas, MA, JD
Lindsey Graham, JD, US Senator (R-SC), in a July 20, 2017 press release, “Graham, Durbin Introduce Bipartisan Dream Act to Give Immigrant Students a Path to Citizenship,” available at lgraham.senate.gov, stated:
“These young people have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here. There is support across the country for allowing Dreamers — who have records of achievement — to stay, work, and reach their full potential. We should not squander these young people’s talents and penalize our own nation. Our legislation would allow these young people – who grew up in the United States – to contribute more fully to the country they love.”July 20, 2017 - Lindsey Graham, JD
The Center for American Progress (CAP), in an Aug. 28, 2017 article, “DACA Recipients’ Economic and Educational Gains Continue to Grow,” available at americanprogress.org, stated:
“Our findings could not paint a clearer picture: DACA has been unreservedly good for the U.S. economy and for U.S. society more generally. Previous research has shown that DACA beneficiaries will contribute $460.3 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product over the next decade—economic growth that would be lost were DACA to be eliminated.
As our results show, the inclusion of these young people has contributed to more prosperous local, state and national economies; to safer and stronger communities through increased access to cars and home ownership; and to a more prepared and educated workforce for the future. Ending DACA now would be counterproductive at best and, at worst, cruel. At present, 800,000 lives—as well as the lives of their families and friends—hang in the balance.”Aug. 28, 2017 - Center for American Progress (CAP)
FWD.us, in a Sep. 20, 2017 open letter to Congressional leaders, signed by 809 technology business leaders including Jeff Bezos, Sheryl Sandburg, and Mark Zuckerberg, “New Dreamer Letter,” available at dreamers.fwd.us, stated:
“All DACA recipients grew up in America, registered with our government, submitted to extensive background checks, and are diligently giving back to our communities and paying income taxes. More than 97 percent are in school or in the workforce, 5 percent started their own business, 65 percent have purchased a vehicle, and 16 percent have purchased their first home. At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count Dreamers among their employees.
Unless we act now to preserve the DACA program, all 780,000 hardworking young people will lose their ability to work legally in this country, and every one of them will be at immediate risk of deportation. Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.
Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.”Sep. 20, 2017 - FWD.us
Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives (D-CA), in the Feb. 7, 2018 longest-ever House floor speech, transcribed by C-SPAN, “House Session, Part 1,” available at c-span.org, stated:
“Every day courageous patriotic dreamers lose their status. Every day the American dream slips further out of reach. As members of Congress, we have a moral responsibility to act now to protect Dreamers who are the pride of our nation and are American in every way but on paper… The American people want Congress to pass a Dream Act. 84% of American support a path to citizenship to dreamers or permanent status. 8% on the path to citizenship. 70% of Republicans back either citizenship or permanent status. The three B’s: business, badges (our law enforcement community), Bibles, are imploring Congress to pass the Dream Act. Earlier this month, I stood with evangelical leaders to call on the Speaker to bring the Dream Act to a vote. Pass the Dream Act for the spark of divinity within every person. There is nothing partisan or political about protecting Dreamers… Why are we here if not to protect the patriotic young people who are determined to contribute and strengthen America?”Feb. 7, 2018 - Nancy Pelosi
Brad Smith, JD, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, as quoted in a Sep. 5, 2017 article, “Here Are the Tech Companies Speaking out against a DACA Repeal,” available at theverge.com, stated:
“The roughly 800,000 ‘DREAMers’ who are registered beneficiaries of DACA were brought to this country as young children. Although undocumented, these young people grew up in the United States, attended our schools, built careers and started businesses, bought houses, started families and became part of our communities…
Ending DACA will drastically disrupt the lives of these individuals who willingly came forward to register with the federal government. They could lose their jobs and risk deportation. This repeal will also have significant economic consequences…
Our country will also lose the tremendous talent of these individuals. DACA recipients bring a wide array of educational and professional backgrounds that enable them to contribute in crucial ways to our nation’s workforce. They are part of our nation’s universities and work in every major industry. They are artists, advocates and health care providers. They help meet the needs of our communities and our companies.
We experience this in a very real way at Microsoft. Today we know of 27 employees who are beneficiaries of DACA. They are software engineers with top technical skills; finance professionals driving our business ambitions forward; and retail and sales associates connecting customers to our technologies. Each of them is actively participating in our collective mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. They are not only our colleagues, but our friends, our neighbors and valued members of the Microsoft community.”Sep. 5, 2017 - Brad Smith, JD
The Mozilla Foundation, in an Aug. 31, 2017 press release, “Statement on U.S. DACA Program,” available at blog.mozilla.org, stated:
“We believe that the young people who would benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deserve the opportunity to take their full and rightful place in the U.S. The possible changes to the DACA that were recently reported would remove all benefits and force people out of the U.S. – that is simply unacceptable.
Removing DREAMers from classrooms, universities, internships and workforces threaten to put the very innovation that fuels our technology sector at risk. Just as we said with previous Executive Orders on Immigration, the freedom for ideas and innovation to flow across borders is something we strongly believe in as a tech company. More importantly it is something we know is necessary to fulfill our mission to protect and advance the internet as a global public resource that is open and accessible to all.
We can’t allow talent to be pushed out or forced into hiding. We also shouldn’t stand by and allow families to be torn apart. More importantly, as employers, industry leaders and Americans — we have a moral obligation to protect these children from ill-willed policies and practices. Our future depends on it.”Aug. 31, 2017 - Mozilla Foundation
Craig Silliman, JD, Verizon Executive Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel, in an Aug. 31, 2017 article, “800,000 Reasons Why Diversity Matters,” available at verizon.com, stated:
“There currently are nearly 800,000 individuals in the United States who arrived in the country as undocumented immigrants when they were children. They are referred to as the ‘Dreamers.’ They grew up in this country and they are now investing in it and contributing to it. Almost all of them are now in school or in the workforce, and many have started their own businesses. At Verizon we have benefited immeasurably from the diverse experiences, talents and work ethic of our many immigrant employees, as have most other large companies and our country as a whole. The Dreamers are a truly valuable resource for our economy and our society. The DACA program has ensured that they could continue to be a part of our schools and companies and communities, but now there is a risk that this program will end. At a time when we are fighting to ensure that the US economy remains strong on the global stage, it is vital that we not lose the advantage of the Dreamers with their energy, diverse experience and backgrounds. This is exactly the type of diverse talent that has made the United States successful to date and on which our success will depend in the future.”Aug. 31, 2017 - Craig Silliman, JD
William Finnegan, MFA, staff writer at The New Yorker, in a Sep. 18, 2017 article, “Is Ending DACA the Worst Decision Trump Has Made?,” available at newyorker.com, stated:
“Is cancelling DACA the worst single decision Trump has made? In terms of immediate human suffering and sheer moral obtuseness, yes. The Dreamers trusted the federal government with their personal information, including fingerprints and addresses. Their status was always temporary—they had to apply for renewal every two years—but they were assured that their information would not be used against them. Dreamers were able to get Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses, go to college, work, buy cars and homes, start businesses. In a recent survey, ninety-one per cent were employed, and forty-five per cent were enrolled in classes. Many have no memory of the countries in which they were born. They are, in a word, Americans. But six months from now, and possibly sooner, they will begin losing their work permits, their places in college, their businesses, their legal right to be in this country. They will start living in fear of deportation. The cruelty of it is staggering…
The truth is that the U.S. economy needs immigrants, including those who are currently undocumented. In Houston, contractors rebuilding the city following Hurricane Harvey say that their work will be slowed by a labor shortage, made worse by the reluctance of undocumented workers to show their faces while the state’s Republican leadership is on the political warpath against sanctuary cities. The workforce that rebuilt New Orleans after Katrina is estimated to have been twenty-five per cent undocumented. Native-born Americans are an aging population; we need young immigrants to keep things ticking. But the question of the treatment of Dreamers is, in the end, an ethical one. What kind of people are we? How do we treat the strangers at our door? The Dreamers aren’t even strangers. We’ve known them almost all their lives.”Sep. 18, 2017 - William Finnegan, MFA
Peter Nunez, JD, Chairman for the Center for Immigration Studies, in an Aug. 11, 2017 article, “The Real Problem with DACA,” available at sandiegotribune.com, stated:
“But the real problem with DACA, as with any form of amnesty, is the message it sends to the billions of poor and suffering people from around the world who would give anything to come here. That message says — if you can get here by hook or by crook — sooner or later we will give you legal status, let you stay, so you can then sponsor all your relatives to join you. Amnesties guarantee new, future illegal immigration. There is no disputing that the massive amnesty provided by the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) — 2.7 million people were granted legal status — contributed to the greatest wave of illegal immigration in the nation’s history. Since 2012, when the president invented DACA, we have seen unprecedented waves of illegal alien youth — unaccompanied minors — flood the border and receive temporary legal status.
More broadly, any benefit in any form provided to unauthorized immigrants encourages more illegal immigration.”Aug. 11, 2017 - Peter Nunez, JD
Steve King, US Representative (R-IA), as quoted in a Sep. 6, 2017 article, “Steve King: Dreamers Can ‘Live in the Shadows’ after DACA Ends,” available at nbcnews.com, stated:
“They came here to live in the shadows and we’re not denying them that opportunity to live in the shadows. They should make up their own mind, but they also need to be exposed to the enforcement of the law. If they’re encountered by law enforcement officials, the law requires that they’d be placed in removal proceedings. That’s the law and if you’re going to waive the application of the law, to groups of people, it is amnesty and amnesty in America, with regard to immigration, is a reward for immigration lawbreakers and is a pardon for immigration lawbreakers coupled with their reward of the objective of their crime.”Sep. 6, 2017 - Steve King
Ronald Mortensen, PhD, Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), in a Mar. 10, 2017 article, “DACA: Granting Amnesty to Dreamers Committing Crimes While Abandoning Their Victims,” available at cis.org, stated:
“The Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides amnesty from serious job-related felonies and other crimes committed by DACA-eligible illegal aliens… [M]any Dreamers have long-since terminated their studies and most have committed multiple felonies in order to get jobs — Social Security fraud, forgery, perjury on I-9 forms, falsification of green cards and drivers’ licenses, identity theft, etc. Dreamers continue to commit these job-related crimes right up to the day their DACA status is approved and they obtain work permits and their own genuine Social Security numbers… [And] the DACA guidelines give illegal aliens committing multiple felonies and significant misdemeanors a total pass as long as they have not been convicted of their criminal activity. This means that Dreamer gang-bangers, Dreamer identity thieves, Dreamer sexual predators, Dreamers who haven’t paid income taxes, and Dreamers committing a wide range of other crimes all qualify for DACA status as long as they haven’t been convicted of their crimes.”Mar. 10, 2017 - Ronald Mortensen, PhD
Matt O’Brien, JD, Director of Research at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), in an Oct. 16, 2017 article, “The DACA Myth, What Americans Need to Know,” available at fair.us, stated:
“Based on the facts – rather than the myth – it seems pretty clear that the individuals who applied for, and received, DACA were not the oppressed, well-meaning, high-achievers that the media and the open-borders lobby portrayed them to be.
The DACA program was illegal. But it was also bad from a long-term policy perspective. Rewarding people who violate our laws only encourages more people to become lawbreakers. Accordingly, President Trump’s decision to cancel the program is a welcome one.
However, that decision does not appear to herald a return to the rule-of-law. The first response from legislators – on both sides of the aisle – was a call amnesty [sic]. Members of the House and Senate have repeatedly asked, ‘Would it be fair to deport the DACA ‘kids’?’ But that’s the wrong question. The one our representatives should be asking is: ‘Is it in the national security, public safety and economic interests of the United States to reward 800,000 immigration law violators?’ The answer to that question is, ‘No’ – especially when one realizes that much of the DACA narrative is utterly false.
And the low standards for the DACA program should have every American wondering just exactly who will be given amnesty if the more expansive DREAM Act, or similar legislation, should pass. If history is a guide, expansive amnesty programs are the last thing that will make America great again.”Oct. 16, 2017 - Matthew O'Brien, JD
Steven A. Camarota, PhD, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), in an Aug. 3, 2017 article, “Time to End DACA,” available at nationalreview.com, stated:
“The most obvious problem with DACA is that it is illegal. By unilaterally issuing work permits and deportation relief to a large class of illegal immigrants, President Obama effectively rewrote immigration law… The second problem with DACA is that it harms working-class voters, the very people who put Trump over the top. The employment situation for those without a college education continues to look bleak… The bottom line is that the young and less educated work much less than they used to. These are the workers most likely to compete with DACA recipients armed with their newly issued work permits… One might argue that many DACA recipients were already working, so it’s better if they have work permits. But giving work permits to illegal immigrants makes it possible for them to seek employment in almost any job, so the competition with less-educated natives will hit occupations that until now were mostly unaffected. “Aug. 3, 2017 - Steven A. Camarota, PhD
Dale L. Wilcox, JD, Executive Director and General Counsel of Immigration Reform Law Institute, in a Jan. 29, 2017 article, “Why Trump Must End DACA,” available at thehill.com, stated:
“Ending DACA and turning off the amnesty-magnet is now more important than ever… When you reward bad behavior, you get more of it. Following Obama’s DACA announcement, radio and print ads began appearing south of the border selling the services of cartel-controlled ‘coyotes’ to teenaged would-be illegal aliens. In a matter of months, the thousand or so apprehensions of unaccompanied juveniles we’d previously been seeing every year surged into the tens of thousands.
A year later, the surge reached the hundreds of thousands (not including an equal jump in ‘family units’)…
Now, thanks to DACA, taxpayers spend hundreds of millions annually to reunite the (mostly) uneducated minors with their (mostly) illegal alien parents in the U.S. That’s money that should have gone to support schools, hospitals, and job-training for American youth.”Jan. 29, 2017 - Dale L. Wilcox, JD
Jeff Sessions, JD, 84th US Attorney General, in a Sep. 5, 2017 speech transcribed in the article, “‘We Cannot Admit Everyone.’ Read a Transcript of Jeff Sessions’ Remarks on Ending the DACA Program,” available at time.com, stated:
“[T]he executive branch, through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the Executive Branch.
The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty, among other things, contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens…
To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. That is an open border policy and the American people have rightly rejected it.”Sep. 5, 2017 - Jeff Sessions, JD
Jeff Landry, JD, Attorney General of Louisiana, in a Sep. 5, 2017 press release, “Attorney General Jeff Landry Applauds President Donald Trump’s Decision to Phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program,” available at ag.state.la.us, stated:
“I applaud President Trump for phasing out DACA. This executive amnesty was another example of the Obama Administration bypassing Congress to advance its radical agenda.
Nearly 40,000 DACA recipients have been given green cards and over 1,000 recipients have become U.S. citizens, despite the Obama Administration’s initial pledge that the program would not confer such a path to citizenship. What’s more: DACA allowed aliens to leave and re-enter our country; removed eligibility bars from Social Security, Medicare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit; and conferred eligibility for state benefits like driver’s licenses and unemployment insurance.
As I have often said, the Executive Branch cannot simply sidestep the people’s elected representatives in the Legislative Branch. I am glad President Trump is defending the separation of powers, preserving the rule of law, and ending the unconstitutional DACA program.”Sep. 5, 2017 - Jeff Landry, JD
Hans A. von Spakovsky, JD, Senior Legal Fellow, and David Inserra, MPP, Policy Analyst in Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, both at the Heritage Foundation, in a Nov. 1, 2017 article, “Thank Trump If He Finally Ends the Unconstitutional DACA Program,” available at heritage.org, stated:
“Rumors are circulating that President Trump will cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As well he should: DACA is bad public policy and violates core constitutional principles.
Unilaterally created by President Obama, DACA provides pseudo-legal status to illegal aliens brought to the U.S. as minors. It gives them a promise that they won’t be deported, as well as providing them with work authorizations and access to Social Security and other government benefits.
As a sovereign nation, we have the right to decide who comes to the U.S. Even if we doubled our current legal immigration quotas, there would still be people who would enter or remain in the U.S. illegally. Enforcing our immigration laws encourages people to come to the U.S. legally and discourages illegal immigration.
Unfortunately, the U.S. government has for many years failed to faithfully enforce our immigration laws. This has inevitably encouraged more and more illegal immigration. DACA is the pinnacle of non-enforcement; not only does it protect illegal immigrants from deportation, it provides benefits that by law are reserved for American citizens and legal immigrants. Why come to the U.S. legally if you can acquire many of the same benefits by coming illegally?”Nov. 1, 2017 - Hans A. von Spakovsky, JD David Inserra, MPP
Daniel John Sobieski, freelance author, in a Sep. 5, 2017 article, “DACA Was a Bad Dream,” available at americanthinker.com, stated:
“If President Trump decides to let the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) lapse or end it outright, it will be a deserved end to a magnet for illegal immigration based on an unconstitutional executive order by President Barack Hussein Obama who was frustrated that Congress failed to pass it as legislation named the DREAM Act…
President Trump is undoing an illegal action and reestablishing the rule of law is something everyone should applaud. The DREAM Act or its DACA mutant, however, is something we shouldn’t applaud, if only because American children and their parents have dreams too and those are being underserved. Is it right, for example, that in some states illegal aliens can get in-state tuition rates but that the child of an Afghan war veteran from a neighboring state cannot?
…We are a nation of immigrants, legal immigrants, and we are also a nation of laws. Children were brought to this country illegally by their parents because we failed to enforce our immigration laws. Now would be a good time to start enforcing them… End DACA. And while we’re at it, pass some laws that put Americans first so that they can pursue their dreams. And, yes, welcome those who legally come here and dream of becoming American citizens who respect the rule of law, unlike President Obama.”Sep. 5, 2017 - Daniel John Sobieski