Is SCOTUS' decision to uphold DACA good for America?
- The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — or DACA — defers deportation proceedings for two years for qualified individuals who were brought to the United States illegally when they were children. The program also gives those who are approved work authorization, and the approvals can be renewed. DACA was created on June 15, 2012, by President Barack Obama.
- As of Sept. 4, 2017, there were 689,800 DACA recipients, according to USCIS. The total number of people who have ever been approved for DACA since 2012 is 798,980. Nearly 72,000 initial applications were denied.
- DACA recipients have gotten advanced degrees; they have started businesses; they have bought houses and had children who are U.S. citizens; and 90% have jobs. Indeed, 29,000 are healthcare professionals, working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.
- A narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court extended a life-support line to some 650,000 so-called DREAMers on June 18, 2020, protecting them from deportation for now. The vote was 5-4 with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the decisive fifth vote that sought to bridge the liberal and conservative wings of the court.
- The Center for American Progress stated, 'DACA has been unreservedly good for the U.S. economy' and that DACA recipients will 'contribute $460.3 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product [GDP] over the next decade—economic growth that would be lost were DACA to be eliminated.'
- Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said that DACA 'encouraged more illegal immigration and contributed to the surge of unaccompanied minors and families seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.'
The answer to whether upholding DACA is good for America lies in whether Dreamers are good for America.
A significant number of Dreamers (recipients of DACA status) contribute to the U.S. economy as teachers, healthcare professionals, small business owners, military personnel, etc., contributing $11.74 billion in state and local taxes in 2017. As per a national survey in 2019, 96% of Dreamers are currently employed or in school. Other benefits of DACA, as reported by recipients, include finding better jobs, improved housing conditions, being able to buy cars and homes. Investing in all these big-ticket assets yields higher gains in taxes as well.
So, the image painted of Dreamers as idle, economically draining individuals is far from the truth, and their contribution to the American economy cannot be overstated. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that repealing DACA could cost the U.S. over $460 billion in lost economic gains over a decade.
Economic contributions aside, Dreamers were raised in the United States, so they do not have another 'home country' to go 'back to' as opponents of DACA would often have us believe. Above 70% of dreamers report concerns for their own and their families' physical safety, healthcare, access to education, or risk of homelessness if they were deported. Condemning Dreamers to an uncertain fate in a foreign country because of decisions they had no say in as children is morally reprehensible.
The Supreme Court's decision, albeit a temporary relief, is undoubtedly economically, and a moral good for America.
The June 18th SCOTUS decision to uphold DACA is not only bad for the country; it's absolutely unlawful. Whether DACA recipients benefit America or not is beside the point - immigrants undoubtedly do wonderful things for countries they enter! But allowing the courts and the executive branch to circumvent the Constitutional order of establishing laws through Congress (the legislative branch), unilaterally changing laws that affect all Americans, is harmful to the country.
This decision is another example of the Supreme Court legislating from the bench, codifying into constitutional law something never decided by Congress. Obama originally enacted DACA illegally, circumventing Congress's authority to establish such a policy. Trump's administration attempted to rectify the original rule of law in regards to immigration.
In the dissenting opinion, Justice Thomas points out how the '[Department of Homeland Security] created DACA during the Obama administration without any statutory authorization and without going through the requisite rulemaking process. As a result, the program was unlawful from its inception [...] In doing so, it has given the green light for future political battles to be fought in this Court rather than where they rightfully belong—the political branches. Such timidity forsakes the Court's duty to apply the law according to neutral principles, and the ripple effects of the majority's error will be felt throughout our system of self-government.'
Likewise, no nation need apologize for having immigration policy that supports its national interests. This is why nations exist with defined and sovereign borders. And the very definition of a nation can only work if citizenship is defined by the nation and doesn't include anyone who wants to come in and claim that citizenship unlawfully.