Congress Must Act to Protect Dreamers For the Financial Good of the Country

By EGP Editorial

While many are calling on President Trump, the Congress and the public to have compassion for the plight of the 800,000 young people who could lose their ability to live and work legally in the U.S., we want to remind everyone that not only will Dreamers be harmed by the president’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, so will the country as a whole.

It would be a tremendous mistake, both morally and financially, to allow the program to be phased out without the Congress enacting a permanent replacement into law.

This country has already invested enormous amounts of money and energy in the young men and women protected by DACA, and they have invested their lives making the U.S. their home despite the original circumstances of how they arrived here.

Now a number of xenophobic, nativists and racist members of the Republican far right want to blame this group for taking an opportunity away from native-born U.S. citizens. They accuse the DACA recipients –who through no fault of their own were brought to this country as children — of taking jobs from legal citizens –forcing them into unemployment.

This belief is misguided and not supported by facts. It doesn’t take into account the economic benefits from allowing Dreamers to attend our universities and colleges, to work and pay taxes. According to UCLA Professor Raul Hinojosa, who has led research projects on DACA at the university, the economic contribution to the country by Dreamers – over a 40-year life span – is $3.6 trillion.

This is impressive, particularly given the difficult and tremendous obstacles this group as a whole had to overcome.

On top of being forced to live in the shadows, they have battled bad schools, bad living conditions, no or limited health care, and other deprivations that those who say they are being deprived of jobs have had the benefit of receiving.

Many DACA college graduates worked multiple jobs to pay tuition, only very recently qualifying for financial aid in some states.

We fail to see how they are to blame for unemployment, which in reality should be blamed on the increased use of technology and shipping jobs out of the country.

In a country with over 365 million people, it’s hard believe that 800,000 young people — who have passed criminal background checks and are required to have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent — are overwhelming competition to U.S. citizens.

On the other hand, it’s clear their loss to deportation portends a great loss for badly needed, educators, medical professionals, scientists and human services professionals, as well as maintaining our military superiority.

As for the dubious accusation that former president Barack Obama’s executive action creating DACA is unconstitutional, many great constitutional scholars differ on the validity of the argument.

The U.S. Supreme Court could have the final say on its constitutionality, but it has yet to rule.

We are not going to reiterate the pleas of those who condemn the president’s decision as immoral, cruel and inhumane because those calls have already been heard far and wide with seemingly little impact on the hearts and minds of those who want to deprive the Dreamers’ of the security and benefits received under DACA.

It is our hope, however, that President Trump, Attorney General Sessions and those members of Congress who want to do away with DACA will see that they are jumping over the $460.3 billion DACA recipients contribute to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product for the very small satisfaction they might get from trying to deport them.

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September 7, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


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