What It Could Mean if America Loses Its DREAMers

Tuesday the fifth of September, the Trump administration repealed the program known as DACA, which helps those who entered the country illegally as children to receive protection from deportation and allows them to get work and study permits to continue to live in the U.S.

Often America is the only home that these recipients have known, English their only language, and the U.S. their only protection from often dangerous situations in their origin country. The DREAMers are considered to be Americans in every way but on paper. They are members of the community, students at school, and workers contributing to the economy.

The DACA program that was created in 2012 under the Obama Administration and is an invaluable aid for young adults who were brought into the U.S. illegally, and often without their knowledge. With DACA, those recipients are able to grow up and live, work, and study with the security of knowing that they will not be deported. They are able to apply for driver’s licenses and obtain jobs and scholarships.

With the repeal of DACA in place, by March 2018 major changes will begin all across America, especially in California, Texas, and Illinois where many concentrations of recipients resided. The White House has determined that those who can renew before that time period are able to gain another 2 year protection, but those who cannot will be faced with deportation. 

This will have numerous harmful effects on those whose lives are based around their deportation protection and their permits that they received to live in the U.S. But, with almost 800,000 workers, students, and neighbors facing deportation this will also affect those that remain in the U.S., both family members and the American people as a whole. California alone is estimated to feel the brunt, with 30% of DACA recipients living in the state, and over the ten years the repeal continues they face losing almost $84.2 billion.

The average DACA recipient is 22 years old, they are employed and are working towards a degree or have obtained one. Almost 90% of those involved in the DACA program are employed, and as a whole they pay almost 2 billion dollars in taxes yearly, and yet they get very little of those benefits. DACA recipients are not eligible for food stamps or medicaid.  

To go through the process of removing someone who is undocumented costs Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) around $12,500. If you isolate the value of the DACA program in simply monetary amounts, a complete removal of all the DACA recipients by 2020 adds up to almost $10 billion according to the Brookings Institute.  According to a study presented by the Cato Institute, they calculated that there would be a gradual $215 billion loss in the GDP and we would lose $60 billion in revenue.

There are morals and money to be lost in repealing DACA and in isolating and extracting our DREAMers. We are a nation that is wracked with fear, from the natural disasters occurring in the south and western areas of our nation, to foreign tension and the unknown possibility of threats abroad and at home. The last thing to be focused on at this time is shutting our fellow Americans out because some hold onto the ideal of an America citizen that never existed.