The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA, is a policy of American immigration which was brought to action during the Obama administration in 2012 (U.S. Immigration). This established a deferred action for young adults or teenagers who are undocumented and immigrated to the United States as children. This action follows specific criteria to allow these people to potentially gain relief from deportation or removal proceedings. While it does not provide permanent lawful status in the U.S., it is valid for two years and is able to be renewed.
President Barack Obama announced this policy under the Dream Act. This policy has become one of the most controversial policies to this day. While DACA is often labeled illegal because it supports undocumented immigrants, the policy is beneficial for the country and ultimately legal because President Obama effectively rewrote immigration law in order to benefit the economy and help foster the American Dream.
Most notably, in his article “Time to End DACA,” Dr.
Steven Camarota identifies the main issue with DACA as the fact that it is considered illegal. Camarota states that its illegal roots come from “unilaterally issuing work permits and deportation relief to a large class of illegal immigrants.” In his opinion, this policy contradicts the Sensenbrenner Bill, which was a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that made it illegal to hire, assist, minister to, or provide services to an undocumented person, or be undocumented on December 16, 2005. Although the point Camarota is trying to make is clear, it is also evident that the Executive Branch is simply exercising their “prosecutorial discretion” where they have the right to choose who they deport.
This opened up countless opportunities for the recipients, including obtaining a driver’s license, a state identification, employment, and participation in education.
In addition to the previously-stated overarching phenomena, the opposed argue that DACA negatively affects employment for the working-class, and ultimately the economy. Specifically, Camarota included that only 62% native-born Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 without a college degree were employed. He argued that DACA would make it possible for immigrants to acquire any job and therefore significantly increase the competition for less-educated natives seeking employment, bringing the percentage even lower. Although. The pool of possible employees would broaden, many of the DACA recipients were already employed so providing work permits would be better than the alternative. Additionally, the purchasing power on behalf of the people provided with support through DACA continues to increase, and thus fosters the success of the economy. DACA allows for its recipients to make large purchases and thus results in them paying more taxes and helping the society’s economy as a whole. In a recent survey of 2016, the government found that 6% of DACA recipients even got to start their own businesses (Wong). Overall, opening up such opportunities for this population of immigrants allowed them to stimulate the economy and support the country’s growth.
Even further, Camarota argues against DACA through a societal lens. In his writing, Dr. Camarota argues that the program itself is “deeply flawed even on its own terms,” because of the impacts it has on the society, through its weak terms and requirements. To support this side of his argument, Camarota states that Obama’s argument in which he says: “They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper” is simply invalid. He stands against that by attacking the fact that some of the children supported by DACA cannot even fit into the society of America because they can’t properly speak English. He uses this as a weak spot by saying that they shouldn’t receive help “when some applicants can arrive as teenagers, make trips to their home countries, and speak and read English so poorly that they need a translator” (Camarota). The author goes on to say that they do not have enough structured requirements for this program, because they properly participating in society, since they are allowed to travel back and forth between their home countries. He seems to be bothered by this because he feels the students may not actually have U.S. residence, and seemingly take advantage of this act. However, Camarota does not account for the children that have not gone back to their birth country. It is important to note that there “are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home, [since a recent study found that the average age of DACA participants at the time they arrived in the U.S. was only 6.5 years old” (Somin). To further strengthen his ideas, the author wraps up by stating that DACA does not truly account for a zero tolerance for crime, and thus their recipients might be negatively contributing to the society by allowing the possibility of being criminals. While crime is something that should be considered in allowing DACA and it is a valid point, it is also important to consider that our standard U.S. citizens also commit crimes. Criminal actions aren’t solely on behalf of these immigrants, and therefore should not be singled out for it. Upon analyzing these arguments Camarota poses, it becomes more increasingly evident that the author has developed a “cherry picking” fallacy to support them. In order to develop his points, he decided to choose certain evidence strategically, which he knew would make it appear stronger, rather than choosing to show all the sides of this topic.
Altogether, while Dr. Steven Camarota does provide educated and valid points to develop his argument as to why the government should eliminate DACA, he does not do a convincing job. I believe Camarota simply provided the information he wanted to hear, and therefore did not accurately account for both sides of the argument regarding this program and its possible effects. Overall, DACA should not be eliminated because it allows these immigrants to stimulate the economy, prosper in society, and gather necessary permits and licenses to succeed.