What is the Deal with DACA and Immigration?

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daca and immigration

dacaHow Does DACA and Immigration Work? 

Designed to protect 800,000 undocumented youth (that were brought over by their parents) from deportation. The rules are:

  • Must have arrived in the US before age 16
  • Must have lived in the US since June 15, 2007
  • Cannot be older than 30 when DACA began in 2012
  • Must be in school, working, or in military
  • Must pay $495 to apply
  • Deferral from deportation lasts 2 years (this does not give amnesty)
  • One can apply for renewal as long as they have not committed any crimes

California has the most “DREAMers” (223,000), followed by Texas (121,000), with roughly 218,000 more interspersed throughout Illinois, New York, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey.

Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services reported that the average DACA participant is 25 years old and that 97% are either employed or in school.  They also pointed out that only 0.05% have violated DACA and immigration law and were deported.   

In September 2017, Sessions reported that DACA is being rescinded because it “contributed to a surge of unaccompanied minors on the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.”

It is interesting that Sessions brought up Americans losing jobs to illegal aliens because the Labor Department reported in November 2017 that the unemployment rate was 4.1%, the lowest it has been in 17 years.  In fact, many businesses are wishing for more immigrants instead of less, especially in the technology fields.  

Big businesses leaders such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg,  Adobe Systems, Inc.’s Michael Dillon, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, eBay’s Devin Wenig, Etsy, Inc.’s Josh Silverman, Google, Inc.’s Sundar Pichai, and hundreds more business leaders and entrepreneurs are speaking out against revoking DACA. They have all signed a letter on FWD.us that is to be sent to Speaker Paul Ryan, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Leader Mitch McConnell, and Leader Charles Schumer.  The letter warns that if there is no permanent legislation before next March, the roughly 800,000 DACA recipients will be forced out of our economy, and that this will cause the national GDP to lose $460.3 billion as well as contributions of $24.6 billion for Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.

There have been many close calls where a bipartisan deal was almost made, and Trump has expressed an interest in creating a “bill of love” with “clean DACA” legislation.  Reports say that the latest deal was rejected because it wasn’t strict enough against “chain migration.”  This is a highly politicized term that has come to be associated with conservative nationalism, and its implications are opposite the controversial federal term “family reunification”, which is now associated with liberalism.  The truth is that the term “chain migration” is a term from 1960s demographers to describe a social process of immigration, where one immigrant moves to follow others to a particular destination.The bottom line is that the recent DACA deal did not eliminate family-based immigration for extended family members, and this is why it was rejected.  

The goal of Trump and his administration is to establish more of a “merit-based scheme” which is implemented in other successful countries. It would give preference to those with job training, english proficiency, and education. This system has worked very well for the likes of Canada and others. One possible solution is to deal with DACA separately, off the budget table. Schumer (D-NY, Sente Minority Leader) is willing to do this so that DACA can get a more indepth debate, but he is concerned about if the general public will simply assume that he is giving up on dreamers.   

In Sessions’ remarks on DACA, he reported that  “Societies where the rule of law is treasured are societies that tend to flourish and succeed.  Societies where the rule of law is subject to political whims and personal biases tend to become societies affected by corruption, poverty, and human suffering.”

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 is where our existing standards reside. Under this law and with DACA in place, 2017 has had the lowest number of immigrants approved for family-based visas in over a decade. Caps are already set on married children and adult siblings as well as on the total immigrants who can come from each country each year. Even if they are able to be petitioned for by a legal immigrant, they may wait several months on up to several decades.  American citizens can petition on behalf of spouses, children (married or not), parents, and siblings for green cards (permanent residents.).  Green card holders can petition for spouses and unmarried children.

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