OPINION: Why DACA needed to go

Isaac Martin, Political Contributor

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In the wake of hurricanes Irma and Harvey, a twitterstorm has recently caught the attention of many across America. On Sept. 5, President Donald Trump announced the end of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) unless Congress passes similar legislation before next March. Last Wednesday, Trump dined with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi D-Calf. and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer D-N.Y. to discuss DACA.

We then woke up Thursday morning to one of Trump’s infamous twitter binges and a renewed firestorm over DACA.

What is DACA?

Under President Barack Obama’s direction, the Department of Homeland Security created DACA in 2012  granting certain illegal aliens a reprieve from prosecution and deportation. From a legal standpoint, this is done as an act of “prosecutorial discretion.” In other words, the DHS allows about 800,000 DACA recipients, or DREAMers, to stay in the U.S. (even though they are illegal) so the department can focus on higher threats.

Classifying DACA recipients as a low threat and productive people is based on several standards.

Individuals must have been in the U.S. before turning 16, be younger than 31 when the policy was enacted, and either be a U.S. veteran or a high school graduate. On top of that, candidates for DACA may not be felons, though they can have up to 3 misdemeanors. Recipients cannot get on the government dole (like Medicaid and food stamps) but must file income taxes.

Despite these standards, DREAMers do not have to be fluent in English and it appears many of them could be considered “functionally illiterate.”  Loopholes like these cause some like myself to question the rosy image painted of DREAMers.

DACA needed to go

Besides accepting people who, by their own admission, are less than fluent in English, DREAMers also can have a sizeable criminal record before their privileges are revoked. As mentioned before, they can have up to three misdemeanors, which in Michigan include assault, battery and theft, before being repatriated to their home country. Though I will admit that many Americans are guilty of these same crimes.

Recent data indicates that DREAMers, by and large, are not the over-achieving, well-educated individuals that they are often made out to be. According to the Center for American Progress, the median income of DACA recipients is $15.34 per hour and the vast majority have not received more than a high school diploma. While this does not and should not preclude them from being accepted into our country, we need to at least be honest with ourselves: DREAMers are just average working people.

Why then must DACA end if its recipients are almost identical to the average hard working American? One word. Power.

Obama did not have the authority to grant these individuals reprieve from legal action. In fact, in 2011 he admitted that he could not bypass Congress and give illegal immigrants like this a break. Why does it matter whether or not the president can do this if it is a good thing?

To put it simply, if the president can create law out of thin air (as Obama did in this case), then we as Americans live under nothing more than a veiled autocracy. And considering the way many now feel about Trump, they should be glad POTUS cannot make law on a whim.

Questions?Comments? Irate diatribes waiting to be unleashed? Regardless of which, the author would like to hear from you. You may contact him at [email protected]