Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Sept. 5 that the Trump administration would be is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. It helped thousands of young people who arrived in the US illegally as children (DREAMers) as a way to find a legal way to continue working or pursuing an education. In Sessions' statement, he said it was "an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws."
While the program was made for young people 16 years or younger, one survey showed a different number. Out of 3,063 DACA recipients, the average age of when they'd arrived in the US was 6-and-a-half years old. This means that with the removal of DACA, should they be deported they would be sent back to countries where they have no history or connection.
DREAMers did not just come out of the shadows happily for DACA benefits. A UCLA study showed that 35 percent of DACA recipients in college had anxiety rates well past the clinical rate, mostly because of fear of exposure for their families. Now any undocumented family member would be exposed without anything to show for it.
Multiple demonstrations were started nationwide after the announcement. On the government level, more than 1,800 public officials showed support for DACA and DREAMers. Attorney Generals from New York and Washington State have said they will file suit against the termination.
The number of jobs lost by the termination of DACA is staggering. According to the Center for American Progress, over 685,000 workers could lose their jobs. Tens of thousands of DACA recipients would see their work authorization expire per month, stripping them of the chance of legal employment in the U.S.
Regardless of the region, the damage they would feel in dollars is staggering. Georgia will be hit with a $1.02 billion loss in the public and private sector. Even worse, California would feel a $11.6 billion loss.
A few days earlier, tech leaders including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook along with hundreds of others co-signed a letter that called on President Trump to preserve the program. After the September 5th decision, tech leaders like Y Combinator's Sam Altman and Google's Sundar Pichai left messages of support. Many of these companies have co-workers — in software engineering positions, in retail or in finance — who are DREAMers.
Trump's decision to not make the decision himself shows his own problem with it. His failed executive order for the travel ban, and threats from multiple state attorney generals and the concern with becoming the face of the resistance against DACA pushed him into his decision. By sending the Attorney General (and Congress in a tweet) to deal with it, he is pushing himself away from any responsibility.
But for many, they believe it is part of his continuing effort to take down the rights of people outside of his base. Of all the policies that he puts his attention to, it seems that it's affecting the fate of a diverse America. His choice in terminating DACA is pushing the country between a deeper racial divide.