The Voice

View From The Voice: America was founded by dreamers-America should not turn its back on the children trying to find their place here

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     By executive order, in 2012 the Obama administration initiated DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. This program was designed to protect those children of illegal immigrants who had been brought here illegally and had grown up in America. Recently, the Trump administration announced that Congress would have six months to end the program and determine what to do with those who were living in the U.S. under the policy, people known as Dreamers. As many as 800,000 people living in America could find themselves deported to nations that they have not been in since birth, as the average Dreamer was brought to America at only six years of age, some even younger than that. They grew up in America, went to American schools, learned English instead of their birth language, worked in American jobs, paid American taxes, and for all of that, they could end up back in a nation they know nothing about. We at The Voice find this extremely concerning, and to be a rather reckless decision.
Although Trump himself is not necessarily in agreement with ending the policy, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions is extremely opposed to it, and by declaring an end to a program that had been initiated by an Obama executive order, the administration would essentially be pandering to their shrinking voter base who lie on the fringes of the conservative spectrum. It would also put Congress in a tight spot. Although the executive order was signed by Obama, no corresponding legislation ever came out of Congress. Now they will be forced to act, and whether that means crossing party lines to save the program or holding to party lines and battling to end it, much of the blame will fall to the members of Congress. This deflection of responsibility is only going to create further divisiveness on an issue that needs consensus.

     Many Americans might find themselves questioning why DACA matters to them and how what happens to Dreamers affects them. In the ‘me and mine’ society of today, we at The Voice feel it’s necessary to remind everyone that if 800,000 people were suddenly removed from the economy, it would be incredibly costly. Dreamers are not citizens; by having DACA, they do not get citizenship, and it is more cost-effective not to get naturalized. However, Dreamers do work and pay taxes. They generate wealth for the American economy. In fact, some estimates indicate that America’s GDP would take more than a $400 billion hit over the next ten years if Congress does not protect Dreamers from deportation. These losses would, naturally, impact different states unevenly, leading to some facing several billion dollars in losses over 10 years. It would also affect school enrollment, as Dreamers are allowed to apply for college and attend school in America.

     By deporting those who were brought here as unknowing children, America would also send the message to the rest of the world that we are no longer an inclusive nation that provides hope and a future for those who want to make our nation our home. Dreamers are not, contrary to what some may say, leeches who do not do anything for our nation. They pay taxes and work and go to school. They are ineligible for any benefits, such as Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid, because they are not citizens. They also cannot have a criminal record, and must be screened and re-apply for DACA every two years, at a cost of $600. And, in fact, most Dreamers don’t know they’re Dreamers until they turn 18 and want to go to college or get a job, when their status is revealed to them and they are able to apply. Now, they must wonder if the information they provided in order to stay in the U.S. will be used to deport them. With citizenship being much harder for young people to obtain, DACA is a lifesaver.

     Because of the negative impact that deportation of Dreamers would likely have on America, many people are pushing back, including PASSHE schools. The board of governors released a statement urging Congress to make a legally binding piece of legislation to do what DACA has been doing for Dreamers since 2012. In the meantime, PASSHE schools will do what they can to support their students and creative inclusive environments conducive to learning, and have an immigration counsel set up for students concerned about their status. We at The Voice applaud this action and encourage faculty, staff, and students to continue to support those Dreamers who live and work amongst us.

     America was founded on dreams, by those dreamers who dared to say ‘it’s possible.’ If we turn our backs against the Dreamers of the 21st-century, then we turn our backs on what it truly means to be America.

~ The Voice


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View From The Voice: America was founded by dreamers-America should not turn its back on the children trying to find their place here