America young immigrants because they’re undocumented, cutting them off

America has always been regarded as the land of
opportunity. As a result, many young immigrants are brought to this country by
their parents to live a better life. This dream for a better life has been made
inaccessible for many young immigrants because they’re undocumented, cutting
them off from getting higher education and better jobs. On June 2012, former
President Barack Obama changed that by passing the Deferred Action for
Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which gave many young undocumented immigrants
hope. On December 5, 2017, President Trump announced his plan to end the DACA
program, putting 800,000 young immigrants in panic and in fear that they would
be losing the American Dream they worked hard for. In the United States of
America, the DACA program must remain intact due to the many young immigrants
that it supports.

To fully understand this issue and what’s at
stake, it’s best to understand what exactly the DACA program is. It was created
in 2012 by former President Barack Obama through an executive order. The DACA
was created because the former president felt that minors who were brought to
the United States illegally should not be at fault for wanting to pursue a
better life. Unable to pass a law, the administration created the program
through executive action.  This program was created to protect young
immigrants who are illegal in this country. The DACA offers eligible young
undocumented immigrants the chance to temporarily live, study and work without
the fear of deportation. With this program, action to deport them is deferred
for two years and they have a chance of renewal after those two years. While it
doesn’t offer formal legal status or a path to permanent residency and citizenship,
this program does feature several upsides including obtaining driver’s
licenses, being able to enroll in college, seek higher education as well as
obtain a work permit to get better jobs, and the access to healthcare. Since
being enacted, many young immigrants have gone on to pursue higher education
and jobs. The DACA program is administered by the United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services and individuals are able to reapply every two years (From
Undocumented to DACAmented). According to the USCIS (US Citizenship and
Immigration Services) official website, there are currently 800,000 young
immigrants in the DACA program.

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            To become eligible for
the DACA program, recipients must be younger than 31, arrived in  the United States before they were sixteen, continuously
resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time, were
physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of
making their request for consideration of DACA with USCIS, have no lawful immigration
status on June 15, 2012, are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a
certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational
Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the
Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and have not been convicted
of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more  misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to
national security or public safety(USCIS official website). It is estimated
that 1.7 million individuals are eligible for this program (From
Undocumented to DACAmented).

            There have been
naysayers who didn’t agree with the executive action to create the DACA
program. When former President Obama created the program, he was accused of
overstepping his authorities by conservatives and the act was considered
unconstitutional. In an official statement, Jeff Session stated that Obama
“deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically
refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of
immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive
branch”( No action to overturn the DACA program was taken
until President Trump entered the White House. President Donald Trump announced
on December 5, 2017, that he would be ending the DACA program and gave congress
six months to come up with a solution to DACA before the federal government
puts an end to the program.

            To fully
understand why this is an alarming issue, one must understand who benefits from
the DACA program. There are currently 800,000 individuals who benefit from the
program. According to, most recipients arrived from Mexico, El
Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. There are also several thousand from Asia, and
they also reside in every state, with the largest concentrations in California,
Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida.

            Though the president
would like to get rid of the DACA program, the DACA program must stay in the
interest of the young, undocumented immigrants. According to PewResearch.Org, a
nonpartisan website that informs the public about issues, trends and attitudes
that are shaping America and conducts public polling, 63% of Americans approved of the DACA program. It would be wise to
think that this percent of Americans sees the good that this program has
brought to America as well as the benefits it’s given to many young immigrants.
There have been many benefits that have come out of this program. Since the
DACA has been enacted, “66% went from unemployed to employed after receiving
DACA, 79% got what they considered to be a better job, …64% earned higher salary,41%
got a job that provided health or other benefits, and 77% reported that they
are now able to more consistently cover bills…” (Patler 6). They were also
much more likely to get driver’s licenses, credit cards, and a bank account.

The DACA program has also been
shown to be beneficial to the young immigrants that it protects. To see just
how much the DACA program has benefited young immigrants, one must understand
the pressure and strain these young adults were under before DACA was enacted.
For undocumented youth, their legal status makes their life harder. It affects
family life, mental health, and education. In regard to education, undocumented
youths face multiple challenges, especially when it comes to higher education.
Without access to federal or state financial aid, undocumented young adults
face heavy financial burdens. They are also excluded from study opportunities,
work, and paid internships. These internships often require Social Security
numbers to process background checks and hiring with excludes undocumented
youth from gaining applied skills and expanding their professional network. In
these various ways, being undocumented has a severe negative impact on the
economic and social incorporation of undocumented youth (Becoming DACAmented). Since DACA has been enacted, it has benefited
young immigrants when it comes to education. The program helps students stay in
school. Most reported dropping out due to not having the finances to continue
attending college and universities. According to “Show Me Your Legal Status”, undocumented
students are three times more likely to “stop out”(leave college for a period
of time with intent of returning) than U.S. citizens and documented individuals
due to financial difficulties (Pfleger 609). The
DACA allows recipients to have a social security number which has helped when
it comes to applying for financial assistance for college. Current federal law
continues to prohibit all undocumented students from accessing federal
financial aid, including Pell Grants and the Federal Work-Study Program. DACA
beneficiaries, however, can still fill out the Free Application for Federal
Student Aid, or FAFSA, with their Social Security numbers; this means they can
receive their Estimated Family Contribution number, which allows them to
petition their schools for institutional aid that is available to all students
(How DACA Has Improved
the Lives of Undocumented Young People).

Undocumented youths also face
employment challenges. According to “Becoming DACAmented,” “Employment
options…are generally limited to low-wage jobs that offer meager wages and
few opportunities for job growth.” When DACA was enacted, however, these
challenges were minimized. In a survey conducted in “Becoming DACAmented,” it
was reported that 59% of survey respondents obtained a new job and 45%
increased their job earnings (Gonzales 1863).

In regard to the emotional toll
that being undocumented brings, the DACA gives its recipients a peace of mind
and decreases feelings of disconnect. According to How DACA Has Improved
the Lives of Undocumented Young People, in a survey conducted, 66 percent of respondents
to one survey agreed to the statement, “I am no longer afraid because of my
immigration status.” Additionally, 64 percent agreed with the statement, “I
feel more like I belong in the U.S. (Pérez 6). This leads to positive effects
for the individuals and their communities.

The DACA program has also given the undocumented
young adults hope. It’s reported that civil engagement and participation has
increased since DACA was enacted. Recipients have also been able to access
health care, a privilege that was not available when they were undocumented. It
was reported that there was a 21 percent increase in the number of undocumented
youth who have access to health care due to DACA. Washington state,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, the District of Columbia, and California
allow low-income DACA recipients to enroll in health insurance. By not using
federal funds for the programs that help cover undocumented residents, these
states were able to bypass restrictions around the ACA; the District of
Columbia, for example, allows all immigrants regardless of status to enroll in
health insurance. In California, as many as 127,000 DACA recipients qualify to
enroll in exclusively state-funded Medi-Cal programs. (How DACA Has Improved
the Lives of Undocumented Young People).

There have been criticisms of the DACA program.
Most believe that this hurts America’s economy. Studies have shown that not
only does the program not hurt the economy, it improves it. Under DACA,
recipients are granted a work permit, helping them get better jobs and for
some, enabling them to enter the workforce. This is a good thing for the
economy. Extending work permits to DACA recipients translates into higher tax
revenues as these young adults get jobs, earn more money and start paying more
in payroll taxes. These revenues support vital programs such as Social Security
and Medicare—even as undocumented immigrants are unable to access these and
other social safety net programs. The DACA allowing recipients to open bank
accounts and receive credit cards also allow young people to spend their new
earnings on purchases throughout their communities and to generate new jobs as
businesses strive to meet the higher demand for goods and services. These
benefits are especially important because many undocumented young people live
in economically vulnerable positions. (How DACA Has Improved the Lives of
Undocumented Young People).

In fact, if the 800,000 DACA recipients are
deported, the act of deportation will hurt the economy rather than improve it.
According to AmericanProgress.Org, an independent nonpartisan policy institute
that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold,
progressive idea, mass deportation
reduces U.S. GDP by 1.4 percent annually which would amount to 4.7 trillion
dollars in lost GDP over 10 years. And according to “The Economic Benefits of
Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”, “wages will rise for less-skilled native
workers…but they do fall for higher-skilled natives.” As a result, the United
States will be losing a large amount of jobs (Hinojosa-Ojeda 189). It is
reported that removing the many undocumented workers would reduce national
employment to an amount that is similar to the Great Recession.

Kris Kobach, a Kansas State Secretary, expressed
his dislike of the DACA program given that it takes away employment opportunities
of Americans and will cause unemployment to surge. This opinion is prevalent
among many of the conservative Americans that immigrants take jobs away from
Americans. It is a legitimate point. A study showed that for Americans without
a high school diploma, yearly wages dropped 1.1 percent due to immigration (The
costs and benefits of immigration). However, it was also shown in a study
that immigrants complement rather than substitute for the efforts of native
workers…researchers found that “90 percent of native-born workers with at
least a high-school diploma experienced wage gains from immigration waging from
0.7 percent to 3.4 percent, depending on education” (West 436). In the article,
“Immigration Benefits America”, it was found that in a study that was conducted
by the National Research Council about the economic impacts immigrants have in
American society, it was concluded that immigration delivers a “significant
positive gain” of $1 billion to $10 billion each year to native-born Americans
(Gold 1).

In a country that prides itself on being a land
of dreams, it would be a disservice to crush the dreams of 800,000 young
immigrants by ending the DACA program. The DACA program has helped not only the
young immigrants but this country as well. Instead of getting rid of the DACA
program, it would be wise to find a way to improve it. In order for the DACA to
stay in place, congress must pass the bipartisan DREAM Act to protect these
young immigrants. To help keep DACA, go to
where there’s a tool to connect people quickly to call congress and try to
swing votes. 800,000 dreamers are at risk. In America, everyone should be free
to live their dreams.