How Much Do You Know About DACA?

“Who in their right mind can be against DACA?” is my latest question for anyone remaining in my circles that still plans to vote Republican.

Not that anyone from that side will answer. They’ve ignored my previous requests for explanations — for example when I asked about President Trump’s promotion of violence against the news media.

The “Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals” policy, better known as “DACA” is one of the best immigration policies to arise in the United States in all of our nation’s history. Today, Trump administration officials announced they’ll phase it out within six months.

Some facts on DACA:

* about 800,000 people are enrolled
* it affects only people who came to the U.S. as children
* it gives enrollees a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit
* all enrollees must undergo a criminal background check
* all enrollees must be currently in school, or in the military, or must have successfully completed either
* it costs $495 to enroll (every two years)

These are not the disease-ridden rapists and drug dealers that Trump claimed and his base hated. These are high school kids — or employed people who’ve graduated high school and/or served honorably in our military. These are people without criminal convictions. They were largely raised in the U.S. and aren’t familiar with the languages or cultures of the countries Trump wants to send them “back” to. In many cases, they were so young when they came here that they don’t even remember the countries we’re going to send them back to.

What is the problem with DACA then? The only legitimate complaint I’ve seen so far is that it supersedes existing law (source), and therefore shouldn’t have come from the president’s desk but from Congress. But that can’t possibly be a reason to be against the policy itself; it can only be a reason to pressure Congress to sign it into law.

It still leaves the question: how can anyone be against the idea of DACA?

Is it true that everyone with empathy has already left the Republican party? (An online friend asserted this recently.) Do those of you remain revel in the pain of others? Is it a latent sense of white superiority? (I should tell you that many of the DACA enrollees are white.) What exactly is it, then?

  1. For a minute let me channel a Trump supporter. “Because they’re… (muttered under their breath – ‘brown.’) – bad hombres!”

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      Something like that.

      I really can think of all kinds of reasons to be against DACA, but none of them are *good* reasons:

      * I’m a racist.
      * I’m not well-informed.
      * I’ll do whatever Trump says, no matter what.
      * I’m white, so “politics” don’t affect me.
      * America! Fuck yeah!

      But I don’t want to automatically assume that every Republican chooses one or more of these answers, so I phrase it as a question. :-/

  2. What about this:
    If you have a job and are not a citizen then you are stealing a job from a citizen.
    if you are in school and not a citizen, you are stealing the resources meant for citizens.
    If you aren’t in school and don’t have a job, you are a drain on society.

    Of course, there’s a lot of ignorance and arrogance to all three positions. But they are arguments that I’ve read repeatedly.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      Thank you, Michael. These are likely some of the most often repeated complaints about illegal immigrants in general. So, since no one that I identify as conservative, regressive, Republican, and/or Trump-supporter has been willing to reply, thank you for bringing these up. Let’s assume that these three points came from the groups I addressed.

      All three are not true, of course, even of the broader group of undocumented (“illegal”) immigrants. And they’re even less true of those enrolled in DACA.

      1. Has anyone EVER shown that ANY job in the U.S. previously filled by a citizen was taken away and given to a non-citizen? Alternatively, has anyone EVER shown that a citizen applied for a job in the U.S. but was turned down in favor of a non-citizen?

      (Anecdote: There was a roofing company based near my old hometown of Seminole, Okla. “Common knowledge” in the area regularly asserted that they only hired illegal immigrants in order to keep costs low. My brother [a U.S. citizen] applied for a job with the company and was promptly hired. He worked for them as long as he was willing to, and then moved on when better opportunities arose.)

      2. All citizens benefit from an educated public, regardless of the citizenship status of those being educated. No U.S. citizen has ever been denied an education in order that undocumented immigrants could be educated.

      3. No one being educated is a drain on society, since (as above) all of society benefits from an educated public — this has been repeatedly substantiated by both progressive and conservative sources.

  3. Wil C. Fry says:

    One thing that pro-deportation folks are missing is the cost. Since they almost entirely overlap with the “small government” groups or “cut government spending” groups, this is important.

    It costs more than $10,000 (on average) for every deportation (source: USA Today, source: CNN). In order to deport the 800,000 DACA enrollees, we’re looking at a price of eight billion dollars.

    But wait. There’s more.

    People who are part of DACA make huge contributions to the U.S. economy overall. Estimates range from $433 billion (CNBC) to $280 billion (Fortune) — different factors are considered in these two estimates.

    Not only are the DACA enrollees working — and therefore paying payroll and Social Security taxes — but like almost all people in the mid- to lower income brackets, they spend almost all of what they earn (as opposed to the very wealthy, who hoard their wealth in banks, stocks, property, etc.), and like the rest of us they pay sales taxes when they spend and pay property taxes when they buy property.

    Rescinding DACA would cause “contributions to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security [to] drop by $24.6 billion.”

    Many regressives are convinced that undocumented residents of the U.S. cost us money, but the reverse is actually true. This is why the largest corporations in the U.S. condemned Emperor Felonious’ position on the issue — including Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Best Buy, Google, Hewlett-Packard, General Motors, Marriott, Wells Fargo, and the investor Warren E. Buffett (source: Washington Post, source: New York Times).

    Further, more than 400 American business leaders signed an open letter to “President Donald J. Trump… Speaker Paul Ryan; Leader Nancy Pelosi; Leader Mitch McConnell; and Leader Charles E. Schumer”, urging them to use their powers to protect the 800,000 DACA enrollees, either by preserving the current DACA program or enacting legislation. Those leaders include representatives of Adobe, Airbnb, Amazon, AT&T, Breyer Capital, DraftKings, eBay, Etsy, Evernote, Fitbit, Foursquare, Gap Inc., General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Hilton, Hyatt Hotels, Ikea, Levi Strauss, Logitech, Lyft, Marriott, Netflix, Netgear, PayPal, Reddit, Tesla, Devon Energy, Tiffany, TripAdvisor, Tumblr, Twitter, Uber, United Airlines, Viacom, Visa, Western Union, and the few I’d already mentioned.

    Conservatives, Republicans, Trump supporters: You cannot claim to be on the side of free enterprise, capitalism, and/or “the economy” and also be against DACA.

    (EDIT: part of this comment has now been published as a “Note” on Facebook.)

  4. Dana says:

    i know a lot about DACA because I deal with it daily as part of my job. It’s not as great as the liberals herald it to be and it’s not the great societal evil the conservatives paint it to be. Rather than Trump reversing course, I’d like to see Congress just write the DACA provisions into law.

    Aside from the fact that Wil already mentioned that many (I’d wager most) of the young folk do not speak the language of the country to which they’d be deported, many do not have any families or even friends in these countries. They were raised in the US as US citizens. Some even are married and have their own families (who are citizens) but would have to either uproot their family or leave their families behind if Congress doesn’t act to legalize DACA.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      “It’s not as great as the liberals herald it to be…”

      This is, I’m sure, true of every liberal position that I espouse. Unfortunately, we don’t have a better thing to compare them to. All of them look dandy compared to the competition, which is conservative positions. ;-)

      “Rather than Trump reversing course, I’d like to see Congress just write the DACA provisions into law.”

      I agree 100%.

      However, my confidence in Congress is as low as my confidence in Trump at this point. (Despite the pleasant surprise last week of Trump and the DNC working together briefly to keep the government running until December.)

      My local newspaper ran a piece last week about DACA affecting some local people. It was the most-commented on article they’ve run in the 8 years I’ve lived here. And at least half the comments were “they’re illegal! send them packing!” style comments. In between every one of those was someone trying to correct the misinterpretations, but I felt like it was falling on deaf ears.

      I hoped you’d chime in (as I always do). :-)

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