In the presidency of Obama, there was a policy named Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), it allows 1.3 immigrant children who came to united stated to work legally and stay here. Children who fulfill the criteria were given the delay of deportation for 2 years; before it could expire it could also be renewed. Children who were brought to the US illegally were given renewable 2 years of delayed action from deportation and make them eligible to work in the US. DACA doesn’t provide a way to citizenship to immigrants whereas DREAM act gives this opportunity. on June 15, 2012, firmer President Barack Obama stated this policy and on August 15, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) start embracing the applications for the projects.
Following criteria must be meeting to be authorized for the program of DACA:
• As of June 15, 2012 age should be less than 31 and minimum age 15 at application (less than 15 are unauthorized immigrants but eligible to apply in removal proceedings).
• Since June 15, 2007 person should reside in the US without legal status.
• At the age of 16 people should have arrived in the United States.
• He/she must not be under any serious misdemeanors or shouldn’t be sentenced to any felony or not pose a risk to national security.
• Obtained a general development certificate (GED), high school graduate or be respectably discharged veteran, or, enrolled in school.
Last September the trump’s government drops this program into a situation of unreliability. Firstly, it declared the end of the program DACA, which stated that from March 5 everyone will be kicked out of the program and no more application will be accepted. Although various temporary court verdicts prior this year blocked the termination of the program, still they let the recipients carry on applying for renewal of their status, just as they were applying under the presidency of Obama.
Although Obama faced a lot of harsh and brutal criticism of this announcement he also had a million of people who were happy with this decision. Many objected that this decision seizes congressional authority, surpassed executive powers, and surpassed federal statutory boundary. The opposition argued that these policies of immigration are inaccurate, They argued that providing forgiveness to unauthorized immigrants will provide leverage to more foreigners to enter illegally in the United States. In 2014 when the protection was given by Obama’s program of DACA, attackers charge, generated chaos by pressurizing parents in whole America to send their children north. Enhancement in the security of the border, the opposition of Obama’s step maintain, must come before any other immigration modification. At the time many Americans were facing unemployment and difficulties to find a job. This gave a point to opponents to oppose Obama, for promoting policies which gave the right to an illegal person to work. Critics claimed that the future president will continue to use the power of their post as did Obama used executive action.
While on the other hand, some people were waiting for the complete implementation of reform because they were disappointed that it has not progressed further in implementation. They commented that bold steps are needed to be taken for country’s deportation and immigration policies, which immigrants resist, treat them callously and cruelly. They also commented that it is compassionate to immigrants and good to the US as a whole. They stated that this action not only retains the families together but it will also implement the laws of immigration in such a way that it will protect the security of our nation and safety of the public. Not only it will give strength to our nation’s economy by providing new jobs but also permitting those immigrant families to take part in the growth of the country which they call their homeland. They also mentioned that it a constitutional move by Obama, pinpointing the fact that it is a president’s responsibility to decide how to implement the law in the country. They also claimed that Republicans have no base to disgrace because for many years they have obstructed congressional efforts to pass complete immigration reform (Immigration and Executive Action).
According to the Migration Policy Institute, Nearly 700,000 recipients of DACA out of which students make up to 40%, the program is a lifeline for this central group. This policy has made higher education promising and, mostly among DACA recipients these students are the first in their families to attend college, man has jobs whereas women are in colleges or high schools. These women normally are home-based workers. Compared to women who are not documented with those who are suitable for DACA are more expected to join the workforce. Whereas the bulk of DACA recipients storms from Latin America and Mexico, leftovers are from the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and other parts of the world. 75,000 people applied for DACA out of which 730,000 applicants had accepted in December 2016. Yet 1.3 million people living in the US are instantly qualified for the program. Several DACA recipients didn’t apply for the program because they were scared that may be aggressive government may or may not follow this policy or maybe the new presidency remove DACA and use the given information to track these immigrants and deport them from the country. Let’s suppose if they withdrew DACA, over 730,000 inspected, backing members of our populations, including some experts, would be subject to possible banishment. In this case, this DACA youth might be parted from their families and deported to their homeland which they don’t even remember of (JFI).
To assist recipients of DACA to participate in the labor force more effectively, it is important for them to be allowed work authorization. Dorantesan (2016) found in a survey of DACA recipients than 91 percent of them were employed currently. Among the respondents, 69% reported moving to a better job that had a better salary after receiving their DACA, also reporting better job and career satisfaction as a whole. The study also found that 5% of the respondents launched their own small business after receiving their DACA. The percentage of economic activity grew with age.
In general, the rate of starting one’s own business in the US is about 3.1 percent however within DACA recipients above the age of 25 it was close to 8 percent, showing the benefits of the DACA program in economically uplifting people and communities. The data from the survey also demonstrated that people’s wages had improved after receiving their DACA with about 70 percent of respondents reporting a significant increase. Furthermore, the people surveyed reported that their annual earnings reached up to 36,000 dollars that increased with the respondents’ age. It is important to note that higher wages and earning per year are not just beneficial for DACA recipients or their families but for the overall economic growth and revenue generation for the state as well the federal level. With improved financial conditions and earnings, that lead to economic independence and prosperity it is evident how registering for DACA impacted immigrants’ lives and in turn, helped the US economy grow. In the same survey, about 71% reported that they were able to better support their families financially through increased earnings. The percentage rose to about 75 percent for respondents that were 25 and above. It is evident that DACA recipients were experiencing better purchasing power.
Nearly two-thirds of the respondents in the 2017 study were found to have purchased their first car that averaged close to $17000. It is important to note that these purchases are beneficial for the state revenue as they collect a certain amount from the purchase as sales tax along with title fee and additional registration fee. The other addition is that more insured and licensed drivers are on the roads which further adds to the state revenue. Furthermore, after receiving their DACA, about 16 percent of the respondents in the survey reported purchasing their first home, which grows to 24 percent among those who were 25 years and above. This further increases overall economic activity and leads to job creation and more local spending. Moreover, the data also showed among the top 25 companies in the US that are included in the Fortune 500, which includes giants such as Apple, Amazon, Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, etc are employing recipients of DACA. The total annual revenue due to these companies alone accounts for $2.8 trillion. Among those who were surveyed, 45 percent were in school out of which a 72 percent would go on to pursue a higher degree or a bachelor’s degree (Tom K. Wong). Another study also concluded that household poverty among individuals eligible for DACA reduced as a result of it by as much as 38 percent, which hints that even temporary authorization programs can lead to economic improvement, not just for these migrants but for the general economy as well (Catalina Amuedo Dorantes).
In another study, additional benefits of the DACA program alluded to more meaningful reductions of psychological distress among those individuals that were eligible for DACA. The study found out that mental health effects were clinically significant. The odds of individuals reporting reduced moderate to worse psychological distress grew lesser as the DACA program expanded to include them. These secondary benefits act in conjunction with the economic benefits but have often been left underappreciated. But these overall benefits out of the DACA program can be useful to guide ongoing policy debates not only in shaping future US immigration policy but also the policy in Europe which is facing an undocumented migrant crisis of its own in some parts (Atheendar S Venkataraman).
Most of the arguments that come in favor of repealing DACA center around the economic point of views. However it is interesting to note that studies form both conservative and liberal think tanks have pointed out the economic losses that could result as a result of mass deportation, should DACA be revoked. Texas and California, for instance, are projected to lose from 6 to 11 billion dollars each year if the workers are deported. Brannon (2017) estimated in a study that the federal government may lose up to 60 billion dollars in revenue in just a decade, with a reduction in economic growth that reaches as far as $280 billion in estimation. Although comparing to the federal budget and giant state economies, the amount may seem small but it carries a significant impact on local communities (Ike Brannon). Furthermore, a noticeable effect in many industries would be witnessed as most people that are eligible for DACA tend to be employed in sectors such as food sales and services, etc.
On the other hand, if the program does not end then more people could potentially enter it. According to the Migration Policy Institute, the numbers could grow to 1.9 million people who would be eligible for DACA as young children would age into it. A mass deportation policy could lead to a reduction in the nation’s GDP from 1.4 to 2.6 percent and impact the cumulative GDP potentially by $4.7 trillion over 10 years. The long-term effects could be even larger as the capital would adjust downward, leading to people in the farming sector, for example, selling off assets per worker. National employment reduction could be similar to that experienced during the Great Recession by deporting 7 million unauthorized workers. Moreover, it would cost nearly $900 billion in 10 years, to the federal government in lost revenue if mass deportation were to take place. Industries could see a substantial reduction in their workforces. Industries such as construction, agriculture, hospitality, and leisure have higher concentrations of workforces and could specifically be hit by the move, as workforce reduction could near 20%.
It is also predicted that state GDP in California could fall ultimately by a $103 billion due to mass deportation if DACA is revoked, followed by New York, Texas and New Jersey as effects would become more widespread (Ryan Edwards).
Besides adversely affecting people economically, there is evidence to suggest that revoking DACA would have profound effects on the people’s mental health. These effects may be enhanced by the forming political climate which is becoming increasingly hostile to immigrants. As the Trump administration, besides contemplating on revoking DACA, seeks to toughen immigration policies even more by banning specific groups of population and tightening border security, the risk for deportation becomes increasingly high for dreamers and their families. The adverse mental health consequences will be difficult to address through public health systems and formal healthcare. It will also reduce people’s chances of obtaining help from nurses, physicians or social workers for their mental health problems, given their fears of falling under scrutiny amidst increasingly strict measures. This can lead to isolation and fears that can, in turn, lead to difficulty in deploying mental health treatments when people will be needing them the most (Atheendar S. Venkataramani).
So far the situation continues to be unclear and could head in either direction. The Democrats continue their support to the DACA programs allied with a few moderate Republicans. But the majority of Republicans have not moved from their stance, with a lot of hardline conservative strongly advocating President Trump’s plans. The result of dismantling and revoking the program could lead the “dreamers” to once again become undocumented immigrants and would lose their health insurance, work permits, and driver’s licenses, among other benefits. Although, so far renewals under the DACA program are still being processed by immigration officials due to court injunctions. It remains to be seen what the future holds for the dreamers.
Atheendar S Venkataramani, Sachin J Shah, Rourke O’Brien, Prof Ichiro Kawachi, Alexander C Tsai. “Health consequences of the US Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration programme: a quasi-experimental study.” The Lancet Public Health 2.4 (2017): 175-181.
Atheendar S. Venkataramani, Alexander C. Tsai. “Dreams Deferred — The Public Health Consequences of Rescinding DACA.” The New England Journal of Medicine 377 (2017): 1707-1709.
Catalina Amuedo Dorantes, Francisca Antman. “Can authorization reduce poverty among undocumented immigrants? Evidence from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.” Economics Letters 147 (2016): 1-4.
Ike Brannon, Logan Albright. The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Repealing DACA. 17 January 2017. 21 April 2018. <https://www.cato.org/blog/economic-fiscal-impact-repealing-daca>.
Immigration and Executive Action. “Issues & Controversies: Were President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration appropriate?” Facts on File, 2015. <http://icof.infobaselearning.com/recordurl.aspx?>.
JFI. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Justice For Immigrants. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2016. <https://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/DACA-FINAL.pdf>.
Ryan Edwards, Francesc Ortega. The Economic Impacts of Removing Unauthorized Immigrant Workers: An Industry- and State-Level Analysis. 21 September 2016. 21 April 2018. <https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/reports/2016/09/21/144363/the-economic-impacts-of-removing-unauthorized-immigrant-workers/>.
Tom K. Wong, Greisa Martinez Rosas, Adam Luna, Henry Manning, Adrian Reyna, Patrick O’Shea, Tom Jawetz, Philip E. Wolgin. DACA Recipients’ Economic and Educational Gains Continue to Grow. 28 August 2017. 21 April 2018. <https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2017/08/28/437956/daca-recipients-economic-educational-gains-continue-grow/>.