Editorial: Protect DACA beneficiaries

by Daily Editorial Board

Tuesday, Sept. 5 marked a dark day for some 800,000 beneficiaries — and many more supporters — of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

President Donald Trump announced that he would end the five-year-old program, giving a six-month shutdown period before the first batch of “dreamers” are eligible for deportation. This decision by Trump certainly was not well-received by the majority of Democrats, some Republicans and other prominent business and institution leaders, including University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, who issued a timely and frank response. 

DACA critics have cited many reasons why the policy is bad, claiming it has led to increased illegal entry from Central America, a higher unemployment rate for American citizens, and was an overreach by former President Barack Obama. Those with criminal records and minors are not eligible for DACA; only adults who entered the country under the age of 16 are eligible. Statistics from the Department of Homeland Security show no hard evidence that DACA influences the volume of unaccompanied children entering the country. There is also little to no supporting evidence showing that DACA affects job openings or the unemployment rate. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled the program “unconstitutional” due to deadlock in a 2016 case. DACA does not significantly affect employment or increase illegal entry rates.

DACA lets long time residents with illegal status to legally enter the job market and apply for university. DACA recipients pay taxes while becoming regular and productive members of society. Many societal and business leaders have expressed this view, including Kaler. He responded to the Trump administration’s Tuesday announcement frankly and with a heavy heart. His many concerns are shared by Minnesota students and the Minnesota Daily. We wholeheartedly support the University’s efforts to assist students affected by this decision and hope much can be done to rectify this monumental change of policy.  

Most DACA recipients have spent the majority of their lives in this country and were given the promise of security when registering for the program. The next six-month period will become an uncertain time for the status of these individuals. We urge lawmakers to pass a bill, permanently implementing DACA or a similar program. If this fails to happen, we hope Trump reviews the program, as is his intention, and decides against rescission. 

The Minnesota Daily stands with people uncertain of their fate in the United States of America. At the base of the Statue of Liberty, a poem reads “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Since inception, the United States of America has been a beckoning light to huddled masses. That light should not be extinguished.