President Trump is expected by critics to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order by the end of the year. The logic he used is that DACA students (or Dreamers) increase illegal immigration into the United States, and the U.S. should not engage in “amnesty first” enterprises. He then said that Congress should pass a bill codifying DACA. The President is, as he often is, wrong about this. The removal of DACA is dreadful and awful for a few reasons. First, it is cruel to young people who, brought here when they were young, are citizens in all but legal status. Second, Dreamers are not a threat to U.S. border security, and they actually contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. And lastly, the President doesn’t have the power to remove undocumented immigrants.
Many Dreamers were brought here as very young kids. One of our own guest writers, Jasiel Sanchez-Diaz, was brought to the U.S. when he was six-months-old. For all intents and purposes, Dreamers are citizens of the United States. They were raised speaking English, they were raised alongside American citizens who happened to be born here. They watched the same movies, read the same books and listened to the same music. They even went to the same schools. The only difference is that they happened to be born outside of the United States. And to say that you’re removing DACA because it is an amnesty program is ridiculous. These are essentially citizens of the United States, who have never truly lived outside of it. To end a program providing Dreamers with a legal pathway to citizenship is nothing less than cruel because it is blaming them for the “sins” (i.e. coming to the U.S. to create a better life for themselves) of their parents.
Dreamers are, contrary to what some may think, not a threat to the border security of the U.S. In fact, they have nothing to do with border security. They were brought here not by choice, and most of them spent the majority of their lives here. They are not an active threat to border security, they’re just students or young people trying to make lives for themselves. To call them a threat is unnecessary victimizing.
But even if the President does remove DACA, one thing is for sure: he doesn’t actually have the power to remove Dreamers from the United States. He can do his best, but I.C.E. and similar organizations only have so much power, and many people will– and have– resisted. People will continue to help Dreamers because it’s the right thing to do. They are just as many citizens of this country as any person born here, they just lack the legal documentation. And that’s certainly not their fault. So, President Trump, you can try to remove Dreamers. You can try to Make America White Again. But you won’t succeed, and you never will.