Immigration Policies and the DREAM Act
Immigration policies have been used to define the social and political stability of many countries. In the US, several immigrants are undocumented. Over 1.3 % of the US population are illegal immigrants (Pang et al., 185).The DREAM Act policy introduced in 2001 to cover those people who had come to the US as children. However, it did not pass despite support from the majority of the Americans. In 2012, President Obama introduced the DACA. This group has always been referred to as Dreamers. Based on the latest figures from the government, DACA is protecting over 690, 000 youths and also, over 34, 000 first-time applications are being processed (Zatz, Marjorie, and Rodriguez, 65). By February 2018, 3.6 million out of the 11.3 million immigrants were DREAMers and only 1.8 million qualified for the program (Bloemraad, 374). The beneficiaries of this law are those who had arrived in the US at the age of 16, and they must not have been over 30 years when the policy was enacted (DACA). This program does not give people the right to citizenship. The Dreamers and the DACA recipients have been protected from deportation. Undocumented immigrants obtained equal education and employment opportunities, and this has changed the lives of many people.
Equal Employment Opportunities for Immigrants
The DREAMers ACT and the DACA provided equal employment opportunities for the immigrants. From the past, many people worked with fear that they could be deported as criminals. As a result, they were characterized by work-related stress in their daily activities. Since its inception, the DACA program has provided the surety to immigrants. They can apply for jobs and also study the courses of choice. Through this program, many youths have managed to acquire technical and other professional skills. Immigrants can now obtain a driving license and even do business without fear. Although the people could secure opportunities to work in various fields, there was stress and mental instabilities. Many were exploited with different work and disparities in wages. DREAMers have assured job security and protection by laws like the other citizens. This program, also, reduces victimization at the workplace and also allows the immigrants to take managerial positions.
Economic Benefits of the DACA Program
Also, the country is reaping more benefits from the increased labor force due to the substantial immigrant population. Although there is fear that the Trump administration may scrub this program, the cost-benefit analysis indicates the need for these immigrants by the government and the US citizens. Thus, maintaining this program has more benefits to the US economy more than it does to the immigrants. Having over 11 million people scrubbed from the labor force will adversely affect the country’s economy. Thus, the Trump administration has given the Congress the powers to determine the fate of this policy. The US economy had been faced with periods of economic depression which affected the labor participation. With the immigrants, it was easy for the economy to achieve quick recovery following the recessions. However, there was no law set to regulate the conduct of the immigrants. The immigrants also had no job-specific skills to help them handle professional tasks. With the DACA program, the economy benefitted by having a skilled labor force from diverse backgrounds. This increased the overall production of the country and the output per worker. Immigrants could work anywhere and thus, and the policy promoted social and economic stability. After the implementation of this initiative, the national income increased by $ 7, 454 per beneficiary leading to rising of the GDP by $ 3.5 billion (Zatz, 122). Also, unemployment levels have reduced as a result of more people being absorbed into the labor market.
Protection from Deportation and Education Rights
Those people protected by the DACA program could evade deportation and enjoy other rights for up to years before they could renew their status. DACA protects the immigrants who are undocumented. However, it sets out clearly that those under this program must meet certain conditions. First, these individuals should be those who entered the US at the age of 16 and below. Also, they must be those born not earlier than 1980. Those qualifying for this program should also be clean without any criminal history while in the US. Also, the DREAMers must be students, holders of high school diploma, or those who had been discharged from the military in an honorable manner. Any individual with all these qualifications got protected from deportation to his/her country. This was a significant effect on the lives of the immigrants. Expulsion was one of the greatest fears for the immigrants. Many feared to be charged with criminality and sent back to their homes.
Improved Career Opportunities and Job Security
Immigrants enjoyed improved and better career opportunities after being granted fundamental rights to education. According to Valarie et al., the beneficiaries of the DACA program “saw increased educational attainment, higher social mobility, and better mental health (185).” Education is one of the sources of knowledge and skills that help people to lead dignified lives. When the immigrants are allowed equal education rights, they manage to interact with other students and achieve their career ambitions. The lives of many youths, since then, have changed making them achieve greater success in education. Getting quality education has helped the immigrants to get better jobs for social and economic development. Initially, few youths completed college education. There were several barriers and given that the majority came from low income families, access to education was a challenge. Also, it was hard for the undocumented immigrants to get better jobs even if they had the right qualifications. Social security numbers, as well as a driving license, were some of the basic requirements for the immigrants to get a job. However, the undocumented immigrants could not get all these. Thus, with the DACA program, the education of the immigrates gained worth since people could land on jobs of their choice.
Equal Employment Opportunities and Better Salaries
The DACA program enabled all the undocumented immigrants to translate their achievements into successful careers. Initially, there was segregation in the labor markets. According to Schwab, “the DACA program has provided the immigrants with an opportunity to gain skills that can help them get better and well-paying jobs (133).” It is no use for people to get an education that cannot guarantee them better jobs. Also, people should be allowed to compete in the labor markets. The best employee should be hired based on competence, skills, and experience. Having the right to work and live in the US was the best gift that the DACA accorded the immigrants. Initially, the immigrants were underpaid for similar jobs requiring the same qualification. According to Fathali, “the DREAMers wages and salaries were always 20 % lower than those of their counterparts in the same job category (221).” Thanks to the relieving power of the DACA program. The immigrants can now get jobs with better pay which is equal to their qualifications and skills.
Increased Productivity and Business Creation
The proportion of the DREAMers in the labor market has increased leading to improved productivity. Less than 10 % of the immigrants had been employed before the policy was passed (Valarie, 190). However, this trend has changed since then as more and more skilled immigrants are joining the labor market. The number of those DREAMers who have the DACA status has increased. The recipients have managed to secure better jobs in various fields. Before, many of the immigrants could secure casual jobs. The proceeds from such employment could not help to sustain their lives and those for their families. Those who had already got college education can manage secure existing jobs in the markets. In the study by Catalina Valerie and her colleagues, they found out that after the establishment of the DACA initiative, “the employment rate of eligible individuals increased from 65 to 70 percent” (Valerie et al., 180-193).
Business Creation and Economic Growth
The rate of business creation and entrepreneurship has improved following the implementation of the DACA program. Upon receiving the DACA qualifications, many people started their businesses and expanded the existing ones. In 2017, the rate at which immigrants started their business ventures was 3.1%, and this was more than that of the Americans by 1.9 % (Figueroa, 219). From a general assessment, it is evident that more immigrants are coming up with small businesses. However, they have not managed to create huge ventures and private companies due to the limitation in their capture strength. Those willing and capable of opening their firms have been granted permits to do so. The DACA policy protected individual and immigrant businesses from any form of abuse from the authority and competition. Being part of the country’s labor force and economic prosperity, the immigrants pay taxes and other contributions like the Americans. Also, their businesses are subjected to the same tax laws and regulations.
Better Salaries and Improved Lifestyles
Immigrants who got protected by the DACA policy are entitled to increased salaries which improved their lifestyles. According to Abrego, “over 70 % of the immigrants used to live in the rural areas with poor housing and lack of necessities (366).” Also, Figueroa explains that “The annual median salary for the DREAMers aged 25 years and above rose from $37,595 to $41,622 on average (2247).” When increases, people are likely to adjust their lives to meet the new expectations. Thus, it is likely that all the working immigrants would live better lives with their families. Besides the improved in their lifestyles, the government also benefited through a rise in tax income. The increase in DREAMers wages significantly increases their purchasing power as well. “65 percent of the DACA beneficiaries bought their first cars paying an average cost of $16,469” (Zatz, 122). This shift in lifestyle accelerated the economic growth making the country to benefit from positive returns. Also, some people moved from their informal settlements to urban centers.
Contributions to the Economy and Business Ventures
According to Schwab, the DREAMers who received the DACA rights of equal employment earned a total of $ 19.9 billion per year on average (126). Out of this earning, they also contributed over $ 3 billion to the Federal government as tax. Many people had always believed that granting the immigrants' employment rights reduce the jobs meant for the American citizens. However, this was just a misconception, and a lie meant to suppress the rights of immigrants. The rest of the earning was invested back to the economy through spending or investment. Also, it is established that “in California State, the business entities founded by the undocumented immigrants employ almost 1.5 million people (Bloemraad, 374).” Currently, there have been debates in the Congress that the bill does not benefit the American citizen. However, there is enough reason to pass the DREAMers Act following the benefits it will bring to the country. The Act is meant to grant permanent citizenship and as a result improved economy. If the rights are given for a limited of time with these benefits, there is every reason to allow the immigrants more permanent rights for the country’s economic prosperity.
Access to Social and Health Facilities
DACA program has increased access to social and health facilities. Many immigrants have managed to raise their income levels. As a result, they can afford quality medical care and attention from the public and private facilities. Access to quality healthcare is one of the necessities for human beings. As the immigrants accessed better education and employment opportunities, they managed to pay for their health and other social expenses. Equal treatment and exposure to insurance and other programs that boosted their welfare was also made possible.
Despite all these benefits, the DREAMers are still facing challenges in their stay in the US. The President, citizens, and the Congress have demonstrated their willingness to better the lives of the immigrants. However, there is still a need for better policies given that undocumented immigrants are finding their way to the US. Disbanding the DACA program has also raised heated debates between the Republicans and the Conservatives. Also, some of these immigrants have been associated with criminal activities such as trafficking of drugs. However, the advantages of having the immigrants in the US had posed more benefits than disadvantages. Despite the challenges, there is a need for a political approach to solving the immigrant crisis. Also, the administration should allow the citizens to make contributions regarding the issue of the immigrants. Having a population with a diversity of skills, techniques, and experiences is one of the best resources that a country can have. Therefore, the US should only look for ways of granting the immigrants the rights to help them live dignified lives.
According to McLeod, any form of academic writing must end with a conclusion that sums up the contents of a given topic as a summary (23). Therefore, immigrants are human beings just like the other American citizens. Putting in place policies that encourage their stay benefits not only the immigrants but also the economy. Through the passing of the DACA act, many immigrants have managed to secure employment, get an education, as well as live better lives. Improved job security and access to equal employment opportunities have improved social security. The economy has also grown through more ventures, personal businesses, and increased taxation. The American labor force has benefited from the diversity in skills and experience brought by the workforce. Thus, the Congress should consider adopting the DACA Act to promote equal rights for immigrants and economic development.
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