Yesterday, September 5th, attorney general Jeff Sessions announced that they were phasing out DACA. This decision has been followed by a whole lotta' protest. Everyone has an opinion, and many prominent leaders have stepped forward with theirs.
But if you haven't been following DACA since its inception in 2012, what the heck do you need to know about it in order to form an opinion as a business leader? How do you decide where you stand?
Here are 9 facts to know about DACA that I hope will help you form & articulate an opinion.
1) Where did DACA come from? It was signed into law in 2012 by President Obama under executive order. It was meant to be a temporary relief from deportation for undocumented children.
2) What does it stand for? The acronym stands for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. You qualify if you arrived in the US before the age of 16, have been in the US for longer than 5 years, have no criminal record, and are in school or university. They're called Dreamers (yep, from the DREAM act).
4) What do you need to do to apply? There's an application process that requires an initial fee of $465. That's the same fee you have to submit for renewal after two years. This means that there is no cost to the administration.
5) What are the benefits of DACA for applicants? They can get drivers licenses, go to college, get jobs that aren't under the table, and pay income taxes.
6) Why is DACA being revoked? This guy, the Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, is leading 9 others AGs who are arguing that DACA doesn't follow rule of law. That just means that they believe that the law -- our constitution -- should be the guiding factor when creating policy, not the individual opinions of the people who make up the government. They're not totally off here, but they're not totally on either. Congress is meant to be the sole decider on naturalization, but who is directly responsible for deciding immigration law at a state and federal level is much murkier.
7) So what did Trump do about it? Originally, when he was campaigning, he said that he would definitely end DACA. Once in office, he changed his tune and then expressed compassion about the policy. He publicly announced that he would phase out the policy yesterday but has given a 6-month window to Congress to provide alternative legislation. In short, Congress has 6 months to find solutions so Dreamers can continue to legally work and live in the US. In the meantime, all current work permits and pending applications will be honored.
8) What are the benefits of DACA for the economy? Since its inception, the economic affects have been studied, and over the years, it's shown that DACA applicants consistently benefit the overall economy as they increase their hourly wages, get more education and training, buy houses / cars, and start businesses. This increase in spending increases tax revenue, so cha-ching all around.
9) And what are the costs of getting rid of DACA? Here's a stat. Research showed that around 72% of the top Fortune 500 companies employee Dreamers. I cite that to show the amount of disruption that would be caused if those employees were deported. Plus, deportation costs have been estimated at around 7.5 billion dollars, almost equivalent to the amount Trump has just requested for federal aid for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Here's my two cents. DACA was always meant to be a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation. It's done a pretty damn good job at increasing tax revenue and providing a better quality of life for Dreamers. It's not a long-term solution, which is what I would like to see. That's why I'm still doing research on what it looks like to be involved with what happens in Congress.
What do you think?