Today marks the two-year anniversary of the implementation of the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers. This was arguably the most important immigration policy change in decades and one that has changed the lives of nearly 600,000 young immigrants who are Americans in all but paperwork.
A new La Opinión editorial, “Two years after DACA,” is well worth a read:
The decision to grant deferred deportations through the DACA program to a category of youths practically changed the lives of more than half a million people, who were able to get a stable job, a driver’s license and even open a bank account. All of these help individuals brought up in our country to more fully become part of society and the economy.
Unfortunately, on the second anniversary of this decision that the Department of Homeland Security made, there is an effort underway to punish the program’s beneficiaries, the Dreamers, for the arrival of Central American youths to the border.
There are Republican (GOP) lawmakers who recognize the unique condition of the Dreamers, who were brought here by their parents. Despite that, the party’s leadership in Congress gave up control over the immigration issue to the Tea Party, allowing them to take it out on these youths. With or without the border crisis, the House of Representatives voted several times to eliminate DACA.
The immigration issue, the potential executive actions that President Obama could take in this regard and the poorly named “amnesty” in the comprehensive immigration reform are the central issues of the Republican strategy for the November legislative elections. This campaign includes opposing DACA and wanting to deport the Dreamers.
Instead of taking into account the Dreamers’ particular situation and their potential contributions, the opposition has turned them into an example of supposed presidential excess, to which they apply all the negative stereotypes that ignorance and political opportunism allow.
This debate is sad for the youths who are renewing their DACA, for Republicans dominated by those who only want deportations and for the community, which is being insulted and disrespected with generalizations and falsehoods.
We hope that the hysterical opposition to DACA on this second anniversary does not make the Obama administration waver in expanding deferred action to other categories of immigrants. This is a very necessary measure, given the refusal of the House to tackle an immigration bill that includes legalization.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
This is a joyous day for the over half a million DREAMers who have received DACA as well as the broader immigrant community across the country. Thanks to DACA, hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth have been lifted out of the shadows, fully able to live and work without the fear of deportation or being ripped away from the only country they know. As we celebrate the program’s two-year anniversary and its success, we’re also painfully reminded of the numerous attempts by Republicans to take this important policy away and subject DREAMers to deportation once again. With the GOP abdicating all responsibility to govern responsibly on the immigration issue, it’s up to the President to step in and do what he’s done before: reshape immigration policy for the benefit of immigrants, their American families and the country. DACA works, and it’s time to expand its protections and opportunities to millions more in the immigrant community.