The program of DACA

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Every year, thousands of immigrants arrive in the United States for a variety of causes, including economic opportunity, hunger, conflict, and personal goals. Many children come to the country with the hope of reuniting with their parents. Any people come with the expectation of obtaining a decent education and entering prestigious colleges of their choosing. The students work diligently and are devoted to being productive people, finding success in their lives, and supporting family members. However, the truth is just the reverse, since those resources do not exist. The lack of documentation does not allow unauthorized individuals to apply for admission to college regardless of their Grade Point Average (GPA) from their country of origin. Additionally, it is impossible to secure a job as an alien. Once they arrive in the US, the situation is different and requires certain procedures to enroll in school and job application. The failure to produce proper documents risks immediate deportation. However, the undocumented youth can still achieve their dreams of a better future through education.

The paper examines the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival policy that encourages these students achieves their goals in life. The unauthorized immigrants are allowed a two-year protection from deportation (Batalova, Hooker, and Capps 4). The students go about their daily activities without the fear of intimidation or arbitrary arrests. They can apply for work permits and legally work in different sectors. The DACA program allows temporary reprieve and the applicants have the chance to renew their status. Perhaps, it is the time that United States keeps the DACA program and set a pathway for beneficiaries/students to attain permanent citizenship.

Background

The United States of America has the highest immigrants’ population than any other country in the world. There are over forty million foreign-born people and the number very huge compared to other nation (Hoefer, Rytina, and Baker 6). The USA has an estimated that 11 million unauthorized immigrants who live in the country illegally. They do not have legal status, thus, creates a set of challenges in their economic and social aspects. There are constant threats of deportation, lack of employability and insufficient documentation to allow acquisition of driving licenses and bank loans. The unauthorized immigrants earn below-average incomes due to unemployment and low education attainment (Fortuny, Capps, and Passel 27).

The US as a country began an extended political debate to address the plight of unauthorized immigrants. Fortunately, the government came up with policies aimed at improving their economic well-being but took measures to avoid further immigration. Subsequently, President Obama utilized the Prosecutorial discretion powers to announce the establishment of Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA). The policies ensured at all the immigrants arriving in the US would not pose any security risk to public order and national security. The Homeland security would, therefore, accept applications from unauthorized immigrants arriving in the United States if they are 15 years (minors) and above. The introduction of the program contributed to the increased social and economic inclusion of young adult and undocumented immigrants. The recipients would likely become United States citizens if given the chance as they seek further integration into the society.

Qualification

The process is strait forward so long as individuals provide proper documents and is not convicted of any criminal offence. The Department of Immigration Services began accepting DACA application in August 2012. The applicants filled three mandatory forms and paid a 465-dollar fee. They were required to provide proper documents to meet the eligibility criteria. It also important to undergo the background checks that include fingerprinting. The process is stringent but it is encouraging to note that over 90% of the applications pass the test. It takes an estimated 4-6 months period to scrutinize the documents. The first 100,000 an authorized immigrants were approved in December 2012 and by 2014, there were over 600, 000 DACA beneficiaries (USCIS 2014).

To qualify for DACA, the undocumented immigrants have to meet important criteria. Firstly, applicants needed not to have lawful status by 15 June, 2012. Secondly, they needed to be below 16 years at the time they were arriving in the US. Thirdly, they needed to be under the age of 31 as of June 5, 2012. The fourth condition is that the undocumented persons must have lived in the United States since June 5, 2007 (Batalova, Hooker, and Capps 4). The applicants must be currently going to school in the US, already obtained high school completion certificates or undergraduate degree, and obtained a certificate in GED (General Education Development). The US Armed forces or Coast Guard personnel discharged honorably can still apply (Department of Homeland Security). Lastly, the applicant must not have been charged or found guilty misdemeanor or felony. It is important to note that the DACA applicants must be 15 years and above. The individuals must present all required documents from a list submitted to by the USCI (Gordon et al. 23). The documents may include but not limited to original birth certificates and passport from country of origin. They are useful in determining the age of individuals to ensure they arrive in the US before the age of 16.

Benefits

The DACA program is a lawful program that allows the non-citizens to live freely on the United States territory. The successful applicants can get employment, receive authorized social security number, and access students’ loan (in some States). The work permits allow individuals to get their first employment or starting new businesses. The recipients open their first bank accounts and obtain credit cards. There is a shift in spending among the employed immigrants. The earnings in their communities help in generating other job opportunities as companies commit their effort to meet the increasing services and goods demand. Better jobs mean improved tax revenues arising higher wages collection by the nation. The young people move from economically vulnerable positions into a dignified life. Any attempt to repeal the program will cost the companies over $2 billion loss in unnecessary turnover cost (Baker 2).

Work Permits

The program is easy to support because the revenue comes from the vital programs such as the Medicare and Social Security fund. The treasury affords to cater for millions of Americans taxpayers’ wellbeing through improved incentives and cost-sharing medical covers. The undocumented persons once registered are productive to the country. They contribute immensely to the Gross Domestic Product and overall economic growth. A considerable number of the immigrants over the last decade established business start-ups that employ many American citizens. If documented and offered a permanent stay in the United States, the student will add an estimated $500 billion to the countries total revenue (Baker 3). The contributions to the Social security and Medicaid funds, which are central economic drivers in the community, will drastically increase. A small portion of the millions of dollars released in Medicare can be vital to the support of the just over a million noncitizens who are trying to improve their lives in the foreign land.

The DACA beneficiaries granted with the social security number can enjoy their services even after expiry of the grant. The nine-digit number can be used in education, banking, and housing for life. When looking for employment, the individuals need to present an updated work permit for the number to be applicable in the new employment. The worker enjoys a lawful working period until the employment authorization documents (EAD) expire. The DACA holders need not notify their employers about their expiring EAD. The employer should wait for the expiry date to take the necessary action. The holders can still look for other jobs until the final date. When searching for other jobs, no employer should be asked whether they are DACA beneficiaries or how they acquired the work permit. There is great uncertainty among these populations of workers and the government should pronounce itself going forward. It will only be fair if the policy became permanent and stop high costs in legal consultation when immigrants are seeking relief from deportation threats.

Education

Other than economic progress, the DACA initiatives contribute to the improvement in educational attainment. The millions who produce proper documentation of their high school diplomas, or GED certificates are encouraged to go back to school in an attempt to further or transition to higher education. The program also helps student complete their undergraduate degrees at in-state tuition fees. Arizona and Virginia changed their policy to accommodate DACA beneficiaries in their universities and colleges at pocket-friendly fees. The states of Colorado, Oregon, Texas, Kansa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Utah among others altered the residency requirements. The state governments included the undocumented young adults in their in-state tuition fees. Many of the students dropped out of school due to the financial constraints. The students stop going to school for unknown period intending to resume studies later.

The work authorization allows the undocumented students obtain high-paying jobs and are able to finance their tuition requirements. The social security numbers provided assists beneficiaries in accessing financial assistance during their stay at the universities and colleges. Currently, the federal laws prohibit any financial aid, work-stay program, and Pell Grants to the unauthorized students. However, the social security number is crucial when accessing federal aid, which unauthorized immigrants can still apply.

The higher education and employment help in integration of the undocumented young adults. The immigrants enjoy the social and economic incorporation into the United States system. The citizens would like to become permanent citizens if an opportunity arises. Although there have been great achievements, the successful DACA applicants encounter the hardships related to the blocked initiatives to legalize their families and communities. The United States policymakers should relook at these policies to avoid contradiction and uncertainty. It is important that DACA become part of the law to include undocumented persons in the access of federal financial aid in education.

Drawbacks /Negative Effects of DACA

The DACA have overwhelming support from the public and is beneficial to the US economy. However, the program in recent times has received threats of repeal, thus, put the well-being and livelihoods of these hardworking young adults in imminent danger. The Republican Attorney general from the ten states, as well as Idaho governor, demands that President Trump should repeal the DACA program (Attorney General Ken Paxton). It is likely that a federal court may halt or wipe out the DACA applications as earlier indicated by the Trump Administration. Cancellation of the program will lead to serious ramification to the economy due to increased job loss.

The program according to some commentators grants pardon or amnesty to illegal aliens. While the policies offer noncitizens to operate and live in America, the individuals live in constant fear of deportation. It is not a comprehensive solution to the immigration issues and risks encounter during citizenry application. The initiatives fail to grant the undocumented persons with lawful status. The applicants must keep on renewing the application after the expiry of the two-year period offered by the government. The individuals do not qualify to receive federal benefits and the applicants convicted of criminal offenses are always at risk of deportation.

The right to apply for the DACA program seems to be unfair to the rest of immigrants applying for Citizenship, green cards, and Visas. The US visa can be either immigrant or non-immigrant. The immigrants’ visas offer the travelers opportunity to live and work permanently in the US territory. The non-immigrants visa provides travelers with temporary stay in the US for tourism, business or other specified reasons. The visa acquisition preceded with proper application takes a long time. It is presumed that DACA program grants individuals gain such benefits within a short time. The program portrays the weakening immigration departments as many people are smuggled to the United States to acquire such benefits. The DACA policies seem to be unfair to all other immigrants through some sort of backdoor dealings. Legal immigrants take a long time to get this opportunity to live as permanent citizens and gain benefits in the United States. The immigration laws need to be enhanced to eliminate human trafficking.

Conclusion

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) is a United States policy that permits undocumented persons to live, study and work in its territory. The federal and state governments work in close collaborations to ensure the success of the program. The majority of the states changed their laws to accommodate the undocumented immigrants. The young adults must undergo a rigorous application process that before they receive DACA benefits. The hundreds of thousands of immigrants enroll in the various high school diplomas, undergraduate courses, and employment opportunities. It enabled millions of undocumented young people to study and get their first jobs. The increased number of qualified and semi-skilled personnel created friction in the labor market. The economy in the United States accrues benefits from the increased workforce. Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security is able to minimize public disturbance as well as insecurity. The DACA program, however, is a policy that can come to an end at any time depending on the government. The United States struggles with its immigration laws and need reviews to include to DACA program. The government should encourage DACA due to its benefits to the individual immigrants and economic status of the country. The policy should become a law and allow unauthorized immigrants to become permanent citizens if they provide the necessary documents and qualifies as DACA beneficiaries. Repealing the program arbitrarily will create extreme hardships, local communities, businesses, and the American economy.

Works Cited

Attorney General Ken Paxton. “AG Paxton Leads 10-State Coalition Urging Trump Administration to Phase out Unlawful Obama-Era DACA Program.” Attorney General Ken Paxton Jun. 29, 2017. https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/news/releases/ag-paxton-leads-10-state-coalition-urging-trump-administration-to-phase-out. Accessed Nov. 10, 2017.

Batalova, Jeanne, Sarah Hooker, and Randy Capps. DACA at the Two-Year Mark: A National and State Profile of Youth Eligible and Applying for Deferred Action. Migration Policy Institute, 2014

Department of Homeland Security. Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children and with Respect to Certain Individuals Who Are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents. Department of Homeland Security 20 Nov. 2014. https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/14_1120_memo_deferred_action_2.pdf. Accessed Nov. 10, 2017.

Fortuny, Karina, Randy Capps, and Jeffrey S. Passel. The Characteristics of Unauthorized Immigrants in California, Los Angeles County, and the United States. Washington, D.C: The Urban Institute, 2007.

Gordon, Charles, Stanley Mailman, Stephen Yale-Loehr, and Ronald Y. Wada. Immigration Law and Procedure: USCIS Policy Manual and Adjudicator’s Field Manual 2014. LexisNexis, 2015.

Hoefer, Michael, Nancy Francis Rytina, and Brian Baker. Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2011. Washington, DC: Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, 2012.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Nov. 10, 2017. https://www.uscis.gov/archive/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca. Accessed Nov. 10, 2017.

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