By Miguel Locsin, FINDink Contributor
It was only in 2012 that President Obama established an addendum to the nation’s immigration policy through executive action entitled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, widely known as DACA. The order protected thousands of Americans who were brought to the US illegally as minors. Specifically, any undocumented persons who entered the country before their 16th birthday would receive a renewable two-year period of deportation protections and a work permit for a processing fee of about $500.
Recently, the Trump administration acted to rescind these protections, with a full rescission coming in March of 2018. Although the attorney general stated that “this does not mean [the undocumented Americans] are bad people or that our nations disrespects or demeans them in any way” he still stated that “[DACA] was inconsistent with the Constitution’s separation of powers.” His full statement is available on the Justice Department’s Website, and the President’s own thoughts are famously and unfortunately available on Twitter.
The rescission puts many Americans in effectual limbo, as they now must live with terrible uncertainty until the legislative branch acts. Nobody knows if Congress will even act or what they plan to legislate.
Some of the most recent statistics say that as many as 10,000 Filipino-Americans live under the DACA protections. At my own College of William and Mary, there are about two dozen who live under these protections. At our own Filipino American Student Association, each of our members knows at least one person under these protections.
Let us be clear: many of these people have been living in the US since they were small children, and many do not know countries other than our very own United States. To deport these youthful, talented contemporaries of ours is a careless political action that can only serve the backward agenda undertaken by the current administration.
The arguments on both sides may be endless. However, it is incredibly clear which side possesses the tenants of sympathy and basic human tendency.
Now, many may see this act by the Trump administration as a setback for immigration rights. There is a better way to view it, however, which requires a change of perspective. This may be an opportunity for big change. The void created by the repeal leaves open the door for a better, more secure policy in place that serves our undocumented friends. For those against the side of the Trump Administration, let us speak up and argue loudly in favor of progressive legislation. Learn the arguments supportive of the repeal. Learn how to counter these arguments. Refute them immediately.
On the argument that the nation simply cannot stand to support these undocumented immigrants, that it takes away from American jobs: this is such a pessimistic view. For an administration that ran on America’s undeniable greatness, an administration that has a several hundred-billion military budget, an administration that argues for the possibility of bringing back obsolete coal jobs, surely they can support the about 800,000 Americans that are as American as the 66,000 working in the coal sector. We live under a great capitalist economy. If a DREAMer is holding a job position instead of someone else, it is probably because he or she is hardworking and qualified. Plain and simple.
On the argument that undocumented immigrants are criminals, thieves who literally steal, murder and rape: a google search will immediately disprove this. An extensive body of private and government research has proven that undocumented Americans living under DACA are law abiding, educated, and have lower incarceration rates than many born in America. They certainly don’t buy tiki torches from a local Walmart and march around, violently disturbing the peace.
On the argument that DACA was an illegal act carried out by the Obama Administration: all it takes is the opening of a history book. Not only have multiple presidents granted full amnesty to undocumented immigrants in the past, but multiple lawsuits against DACA have gone nowhere. Again, try google searching.
On the other hand, if you are on the fence on where you stand on this repeal, or are silently supportive of this DACA repeal, talk to people on the other side and at least learn their arguments. Everybody can stand to benefit from stepping out of their own opinionated bubble in the name of sharing information.
We are the next generation, and the laws will be ever-changing.
Disclaimer: The views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of FIND, Inc.