Trump Ends DACA Putting The Lives Of Nearly A Million Dreamers On Hold

by Christine Organ
Image via FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Rescinding DACA will end protections for nearly 800,000 people brought to this country as children

As feared, Trump pulled the plug on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, putting the lives of nearly 800,000 people at stake. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement Tuesday morning in a press conference, calling for a “lawful and orderly wind down” of the program, which is absolutely zero comfort to anyone affected by this heartless act.

DACA was enacted by executive order in 2012 and protects undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, commonly known as “Dreamers,” to stay in the country while working or going to school. To be eligible for deferred deportation under DACA, a person must have been under the age of 31 before June 15, 2012, have lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and come to the U.S. before his or her 16th birthday. Eligible recipients must submit a “consideration of deferred action” request, and if granted, they are granted deferred deportation for two years, subject to renewal.

Following an announcement last week that the end of DACA was imminent, hundreds of business executives from companies as well known as Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon immediately issued a public petition urging Trump to keep DACA.

Unfortunately, he didn’t listen.

Not only could this ruin the lives of the nearly 800,000 people impacted by DACA, but it could also significantly harm the U.S. economy, costing employers $3.4 billion in unnecessary turnover costs to replace the employees who are working under DACA. Because Dreamers pay taxes, it would also result in a loss of $24.6 billion in Medicare and Social Security contributions over a decade. A report issued by the Center for American Progress and also found that nearly 91% of DACA recipients are working throughout the country, contributing billions of dollars to their communities, to the U.S. economy, and in tax revenue.

It isn’t entirely clear what “lawful and orderly wind down” actually means. Some suggest there will be a 6-month waiting period in the hopes that Trump is passing the buck to Congress and forcing their hand to pass immigration legislation. Most fear that deadlocked and contentious Congress will be unable to work out a reasonable solution. Insiders say the Congressional calendar is already chockful of other legislative issues to address and adding immigration reform to the docket would be impractical.

Protests are going on around the country, supporting DACA and the Dreamers, and the announcement was immediately criticized by members of Congress, immigration activists, and even union leaders.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who had signed the public petition last Friday, immediately took to social media blasting the move, calling today a “sad day for our country.”

These are young people were brought to the U.S. as children. They are not trying to skirt the system; they are simply trying to stay in the only home they have ever known so that they can study or work and contribute to their communities.