DACA Affects Everyone

Retrieved from USAToday.com

Retrieved from USAToday.com

Karley Betzler, Staff Reporter

Since the creation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA, approximately 800,000 people have benefitted from its life-changing services. There are currently about 690,000 individuals protected under DACA. Two-thirds of these people are under 25; right around the age of many college students (PEW Research). In 2014, it was estimated that 241,000 Dreamers, or those protected under DACA, were enrolled in college.

Many of us, myself included, can’t imagine a life in which we couldn’t legally work, drive or even have sufficient documentation to attend college. That was the reality of the Dreamers prior to DACA. Now, as they get older, they desperately need the ability to work in order to pay for their taxes, bills, ensure a financially stable life for their families, etc. When their DACA expires, it takes away not only documentation, but their sense of security.

To be eligible to receive DACA, the Dreamers had to meet several qualifications, including needing be younger than 16 when they came to the U.S. About half of the Dreamers were much younger when they first arrived, averaging six years old. They were little kids when they arrived. For many Dreamers, the U.S. is the only home they know. Deporting them to a country they don’t know does not make sense.

They also had to currently be enrolled in school, have graduated or received a certificate from their high school or received their GED, or be honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces. They also needed to have never been convicted of a felony or a serious misdemeanor. Dreamers have met many qualifications, possibly more than other citizens who wouldn’t meet DACA’s criteria, yet were born in the United States and therefore are documented citizens.

Besides the fact that we should value these people simply because they are people, we should remember that we all benefit from them being here. These individuals are taxpayers as well as a part of the workforce. If DACA is rescinded, our country will not move forward unscathed. According to Vox, over 90% of DACA recipients are employed. In addition to being employed, almost every one of them is bilingual, which is highly valued by their employers.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, public schools are short about 327,000 teachers. About 20,000 of DACA recipients are teachers (USA Today). Why would we deport teachers if our country is in desperate need of them? This question is echoed in almost every aspect of citizen life. Why would you take away over half a million taxpayers?

There is an urgency to act quickly to renew DACA; 122 people’s DACA protections expire every day, putting them at risk for deportation. Right now, if you visit DACA’s page on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, you’ll see the words, “DACA is Ending” written in red. Do not let this story end here. Visit here to find ways you can help Dreamers.