How DACA policy changed

College research paper about the DACA policy. It will go through a plagiarism checker so please plagiarism should be 0%.

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How DACA policy changed the lives of immigrants

Introduction

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is an immigration policy in the United States that permits individuals who were illegally brought to America as young children to get a two-year renewable period against deportation. This policy therefore shields the individuals from deferred action from deportation and it enables them to be eligible to obtain a working permit in the US. The policy was introduced in 2012 by then President Barrack Obama although it should be noted that it is not a pathway to becoming an American citizen. Two months after it was announced on June 15, 2012,  officially started accepting official applications for the program (USCIS). When he took in 2017, current President Donald Trump initiated measures that targeted to bring to an end the DACA program. His administration’s plans to end the DACA policy have however faced a lot of challenges with different  lawsuits that aim to stop the plans. Although this new administration wants end the policy, it should consider the positive impacts it has had on the economy and the implications on the same economy if it is ended.

Other than enjoying the benefits of having a work permit, recipients of the program can also be allowed to pay for school and even receive higher education, and depending on the state one lives in, they can obtain state-funded loans and grants, receive subsidized health care and drive legally among others (Mikilosic). There have been mixed feelings on the impact of the policy with some arguing that it has had adverse effects on various aspects of the country while others feel there are positive effects that have come with the program.

Background information into the DACA policy

Before we delve into much of the implementation and the effects that have come as a result of the program, it is important for us to understand where it all began and the reasons behind its initiation. DACA recipients are commonly referred to as dreamers, with its origin being the Dream Act which was almost similar to the DACA policy. Introduced in 2001, the Dream Act was geared towards creating a pathway for citizenship to its beneficiaries. The word dreamer is from DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) representing persons who fall under this category. The Congress engaged in failed negotiations on how to handle the dreamers for over a decade eventually leading to the formulation of the DACA policy in 2012.

Although the Dream Act never saw the light of the day in terms of it not being implemented, it managed to win the hearts of many electorates gaining widespread support and it has dominated the current political debate of the DACA policy. The Dreamer students were largely educated in the US and majorities were from Mexico and South America and thus the government sought to assist the young undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status (Sotolongo).

Establishment of the DACA policy

As stated above, the Dream Act was never passed to be enacted as a law and as such no progress was being made. The closest the Bill had come was in 2010 when it was passed by the of Representative but on reaching the Senate, it fell short of five of the sixty required votes to enable it proceed to voting. It is believed that the failure by the Congress to pass the Bill as being the driving force behind its signing by Obama and implementation through Executive Branch memorandum. The president announced it on June 15, 2012 but it was officially established by the then Secretary of Homeland Security through a memorandum that was titled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children” (Batalova & Michelle).

By June 2016, the USCIS had received over 800,000 applications for the program in which about 88% had been granted, 7% were denied and 5% were still pending. Obama sought to expand the program to so as to make more people eligible but received opposition from a number of states including Texas who took the matter to court (Moreno).

Eligibility for the program and benefits

As of January 2018, there were about 690,000 young people with DACA status in the US. For to qualify as a recipient of the program, there are outlined qualifications that should have been attained. Any eligible person must be below 16 years of age and below 31years as of June 15, 2012. The applicant must have resided in the United States continuously from June 15, 2007. The applicant must be at least 15 years old and are enrolled in a school, have graduated from high school, have received a General Educational Development (GED) certificate or have been honorably discharged from military service (Venkataramani & Alexander, 1707). Those who wished to benefit from the program were required not have been convicted of any felony offence, a significant misdemeanor nor multiple misdemeanor offenses or pose a security threat to the nation. As verification for proof for eligibility, applicants are required to submit three forms; I-765WS Worksheet, I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and all relevant supporting documents.

When the program was rolled out, it opened the window for different states to offer different benefits to immigrants residing in their states. Before the implementation of DACA, only 3 states had granted unauthorized immigrants driving privilege cards or driver’s licenses. Once the program was started, all states issued this benefit to all DACA recipients. Other states now permit DACA recipients to also receive professional licenses such as law practice license. In terms of health care, some states such as California, Illinois, Washington and New York are now funding insurance health services to all children irrespective of their immigration status. Some of the medical services covered include Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and tax credits. In terms of education, DACA recipients are now offered in-state tuition services in their quest to pursue higher learning.

Impact of the DACA policy

Health

There are reports showing that as of 2010, there were 5.5 million American children are born into a family where one of the parents is not authorized (Yoshikawa & Jenha, 3). Separation of the parents therefore in terms of the unauthorized parent being deported has been found to have medical issues on the children. Before the introduction of the DACA policy, these parents were living in fear as their future in the US was not always guaranteed thus was giving stress to their children (Venkataramani, et al 180). A 2017 science journal study however found positive results for children whose mothers were DACA eligible. The study found that the children were having improved mental health outcomes. This was also similar to DACA eligible individuals themselves with an improved psychological wellbeing.

Education

Part of the criterion for DACA eligibility is that of attaining a General Educational Development (GED) certificate and graduation from high school. Keeping this in mind, some research showed that attainment of GED pushed some immigrants to obtain the certificate so as to become eligible for the program. Some other recommendable research however shows improved education attainment in high school and college for DACA eligible persons (Talamantes & Sergio, 123). Another research finding indicates that with DACA, there was a decreased probability of eligible higher educated persons and an increase in likelihood to seek employment opportunities. This is suggestive of individuals seeking school enrollment when working is not a possible option in a scenario of lacking authorization.

Economic impacts

The announcement made to rollout the program opened doors for many unauthorized immigrants in the US as it was a step in making their lives better. Pre-DACA periods were hard for these individuals as the experienced a lot of challenges that limited their economic and productive capacity. Many of those who had graduated with good grades were not able to obtain corresponding job opportunities thus forcing them to opt for low-wage jobs. Some even lacked the opportunity to obtain studies as they would not access financial assistance for college thus limiting them from obtaining knowledge. This took a new turn after the implementation of the program as they now were able to use their credentials and get well paying jobs and better the economy (Gonzales & Veronica). Although some research has indicated that this opened way for limited opportunities for American citizens, some economists have refuted these claims.

The net impact is that the demand and consumption of American products, services and jobs will surge thus growing the economy. The skilled labor will increase local productivity which in turn will translate to more job opportunities created for more people to work. Some of these individual have also initiated their own businesses thus have also increased job opportunities in the market. The amount of revenue that is generated from all of these opportunities is worthwhile and great for economic growth (Wong et al).

Planned Rescission and its impact

During his campaigns, Trump was open in his plans to get done with the DACA program. In September 2017, his administration plans to phase out DACA and for the current recipients and halts any new renewals. When the Attorney General made the statement, he referred to Dreamers as individuals who were law breakers in America and who had adverse effects on the employment and wages of Native American citizens. He also attributed the surge in numbers of unaccompanied minors from Central America into the US on the program (Huber). These statements and the laid plans did not get a warm reception as many people came out openly to condemn them. DACA recipients who would have been affected by this turn of events took to the streets to air their disapproval of the new changes.

According to a report by Svajlenka et al, about 91% of DACA beneficiaries are employed across different states in the country thus contributing billions of dollars in revenue to the economy. About 6% of them have initiated their own businesses employing other American citizens. The same report further indicates that taking away the beneficiaries from the workforce will cost about $460.3 billion loss in GDP within a decade and reduce contributions to programs such as social security and Medicare by $24.6 billion. The CATO institute indicates that the government will have to spend at least $60 billion dollars to deport the recipients and another $280 billion will be incurred in terms of reduced economic growth if the program is rescinded (Bier). The government has over the years since 2012 increased capacity in institutions such as schools and hospitals so as to cater for those who benefited from the program. Ending it will therefore be a counterproductive action that will just hurt the economy.

The above statistics are quite important to monitor because it’s not just the recipients who stand to lose if the program is rescinded but rather the whole US economy (Trevino et al, 635). The three court rulings made so far in favor of the DACA program have prevented the Trump administration from commencing the rescinding process. As far as the ruling stands, the DHS will continue to accept renewals from applicants and process new ones.

Conclusion

When the program was launched, it targeted to help individuals who were suffering for what they had no hand in. When their parents brought them into the US, they were young and innocent and since then, they have probably known the country as their only home. The per-DACA era was not conducive for the unauthorized immigrants whose activities were limited. The post-DACA era brought new light into the lives of the recipients as it opened more opportunities for them to grow on a personal level, community and the country at large. Over the past few years, their contributions more so to the economy have been immense and we cannot ignore that and bring to an end the program. It is evident that individuals suffered from stress when they didn’t know their fate as they feared being deported before the policy was implemented. That however changed later. Rescinding the program will only hurt the US economy at the long run. It is high time alternatives were sought to the underlying problems and ending the program should not be among them.