On Tuesday, September 5, Attorney General, Jeff Sessions announced the end of the DACA program. Now, Congress has six months to replace DACA with a comprehensive immigration policy.
DACA, or the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, was enacted in 2012 through an executive order of President Obama. DACA was a temporary immigration policy for minors who were brought illegally into the United States. It protected the children (commonly known as DREAMers) from deportation and also provided them with a work permit.
With the removal of DACA, 800,000 DREAMers will be affected. Over 40,000 DACA recipients reside in Illinois.
In his statement denouncing DACA, Sessions promoted the Republican RAISE Act (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment), stating the act “would produce enormous benefits for our country.” RAISE would reduce the number of legal immigrants by 50% over a time period of ten years. Roughly 500,000 to one million new green cards would be given out per year, with priority given to English speaking immigrants, those with “extraordinary ability” in the fields of science and/or athletics, and those with financial stability.
Like the regulations of the RAISE program, DACA recipients must fulfill a list of strict requirements. These requirements include: maintain a good moral character, graduate from high school, and be admitted to a higher education institution. With these requirements in place, approximately 60,000 DACA students graduate from high school each year, with another 10,000 graduating from college each year. In addition to obtaining an education, DREAMers must pay taxes, which 91% of the employed do, as well as pay to social security, according to MSNBC.
Should the US deport the nearly one million individuals qualifying for the program, the US could potentially lose $280 billion within a ten year period.
In response to the repercussions of the removal of the DACA program, politicians across the spectrum have voiced their opinions.
In a press conference with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois stated, “We need to find a way to enact legislation keeping these DREAMers safe…we made you [DREAMers] a promise.”
Durbin has been an advocate for the DREAM program since its introduction to the Senate in 2001.
And although he supports the removal of DACA, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tells DREAMers, “You have done nothing wrong.”
A strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, Graham believes DREAMers are not only a part of America, but that America is part of them.
Former President Barack Obama responded to the removal of the DACA program as well, calling it a question of morality. “This is about young people who grew up in America…These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.”
As American politicians speak out on the Trump Administration’s decision, SXU sends a letter of solidarity to the student body.
President Laurie M. Joyner stated, “The University will do all we can to support those impacted by today’s [Tuesday’s] announcement. Please know that DACA students, like all of our students, are important and valued members of our campus community.”
The Xavierite News Team