Is it right to endanger the well-being of 800,000 young adults?
On September 5th, 2017, President Donald Trump put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—an Obama-era executive directive that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation. If he indeed goes through with this, around 800,000 of the young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children would run the risk of deportation. President Trump has given Congress a six-month deadline to create new immigration laws which allow such individuals to remain in the USA legally. This announcement is an effort by the President to honor the law-and-order promises he made during his campaign which included ending President Obama’s immigration policy and toughening down on illegal immigration in general.
Although President Trump’s decision to end DACA is legally sound, it raises multiple questions morally. It puts the livelihood of a phenomenal number of young adults at risk. Many people including Democrats, college presidents, business executives and even some Republicans have criticized this move by the President, calling it a ruthless and short-sighted endeavor that is unfair to the young immigrants affected by this program and claiming that it could harm the economy. President Obama referred to the decision as “wrong, self-defeating and cruel.” On Facebook, he wrote the following: “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.” Lin Manuel Miranda tweeted the following – “Okay. The Bad Man continues to do bad. Your move, Congress. #DefendDREAMers #DREAMAct #LetsGo”, while Mark Zuckerberg claimed “This is a sad day for our country. It is particularly cruel to offer young people the American dream, encourage them to come out of the shadows and trust our government, and then punish them for it.” Conservatives praised this move, though some expressed frustration that he had taken so long to rescind the program. Our president’s own feelings on the matter, however, are unclear. He once referred to DACA recipients as “incredible kids”, and hours after his statement about rescinding DACA, he told reporters that he had “great love” for its beneficiaries. His thoughts on this, as on many other issues on which he has flip-flopped, seem conflicted and murky.
The President wants Congress to legislate a program that would be a permanent solution for the immigration issue that has been a bone of contention within America for a very long time. However, with a Congress that is deeply divided on many issues, this being one of them, such legislation or a bipartisan solution to this issue is by no means a guarantee. On DACA and other important issues that fall squarely in its lap, Congress has shamefully passed off the political hot potato (most prominently to Special Counsel Robert Mueller) rather than seize its constitutional ship at the helm. Congress must get together and find a solution to this pressing issue as soon as possible, or else they risk the lives and livelihood of 800,000 innocent young adults, as well as the economy of this country.