President Donald Trump has rescinded the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). An executive order by former president Obama in 2012 dealing with roughly 800,000 illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children by their parents allowing them to live and work until Congress passes a legislative solution for dealing with them. The “Dreamers” as they are known are people who have grown up to become contributing members of society. They are students, workers, and entrepreneurs. The US economy will be adversely affected if by the end of six months, which is the timeframe set to phase out DACA making to be phased out, would be deported.
Zuckerberg of Facebook, Bezos of Amazon, Cook of Apple, Robbins of Cisco, Nadella of Microsoft, Kelly of Visa are among the 400 business leaders who cautioned against ending DACA and called for protecting the Dreamers. “Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions” they have reminded.
Immigration reform is a political Football that has been punted time and again for the last few decades. Currently, there are around 12 million undocumented residents who live and work in the US This vital population is needed to do the jobs Americans aren't willing to do. The simple equation is that if there was no need for them, they would not be any economic lure for them risk their lives for by making the treacherous journey crossing the southern border. Arguments suggesting that this population is causing undue economic burden are unfounded. Not to turn this into an economic discussion, but the current 4.4% is as low as any economist would hope. Actually, the Federal Reserve can tolerate a 4.8% without increasing the interest rate to avoid unsustainable inflation rates. Some of the 12 million find businesses that are willing to operate within that 4.4% dead zone for mostly unskilled workers.
The economic argument can get quickly complicated with inflation consideration and shifting demand for highly skilled workers. The undocumented population is blamed as some Americans find themselves unemployed. It’s not because of the undocumented as much as they need to acquire new skills employers are seeking in their workers. Therefore, unemployment is more complex to be put squarely on illegal immigrants. In fact, latest figures put their contribution at $11 billion a year toward the US economy.
If the economic impact is not the catalyst for Trump’s decision then it must be that such a decision will advance the Republican Party agenda helping them solidify the gains they won in last November’s election. The Republican Party currently controls the White House, the House and Senate. One would think that it must that phasing out DACA will help those Republicans fighting tight races in the upcoming midterm elections of 2018; no, that’s not it.
No doubt about it, there is a pressing need for immigration reform. Illegal immigrants, legal newcomers and citizens share the ethos of living the American dream. As a country, we must honor the promises we made to them. After all, this is not a legal question – it is a moral one.Walid Jawad
A dozen House Legislators who represent districts with a high concentration of Hispanic populations are opposing Trump on his DACA termination policy. Six of those 12, wrote a letter asking him to leave DACA in place. The Dreamers act (DACA) is a temporary fix for an unacceptable situation that inflicted suffering upon children of immigrants. Congress is now under pressure to push the issue up the already packed legislative agenda. By any measure, passing any meaningful immigration reform will require more than 6 months. It was during the Reagan presidency in 1986 when a meaningful immigration policy was passed, although it didn’t not address the root causes of the illegal immigration. And now, at this juncture, immigration reform has became a pressing issue for congress to address; let the legislative wrangling begin! Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan has expressed clearly his unwillingness to see Dreamers deported.
Some Republican Representatives took it upon themselves to expedite the legislative process. Republican Representative (Rep) Curbelo has filed an amendment to the anticipated spending bill to keep DACA intact. Rep. Coffman (Republican - Colorado) is attempting to force a vote on his bill extending DACA work permits by soliciting the support of the 194 House Democrats and a few more Republicans. He is using a procedural process that is usually used by the minority to force the majority to bring bills to the floor for a vote. The “discharge petition” procedure he’s using needs a total of 218 signatures to force a vote. A very daring track to take. Numerous other amendments to the spending bill are being considered to keep DACA in place for the time being. This is not to speak of the Democratic Party that is looking into their options to help the Dreamers.
Some 20 State Attorney Generals sent President Trump urging him to keep DACA in place. Attorney Generals have the option to resort to legal actions asking the courts to intervene. Although the courts have shot down another executive order expanded DACA called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which was yet another Obama-issued executive order in 2014 for the purpose of holding the integrity of the Dreamers’ family unit by protecting their parents from deportation. Not a very encouraging outcome.
Perhaps peaceful protests will prove to be effective. Dreamers and supporters of America’s values and history have already mobilized protesting Trump’s decision. A simple question here: what would the economic and social impact be if these 800,000 or so dreamers organized to stay at home for a week? I venture to say the nation will feel the void they typical fill.
This is a country of immigrants. This country is built on trust. This country always finds a way to do what is right. These Dreamers have trusted the promises given by the American government. They registered when asked. They shared their personal information as required. Because of that, they are now more vulnerable to deportation once their status runs out than other undocumented immigrants. No doubt about it, there is a pressing need for immigration reform. Illegal immigrants, legal newcomers and citizens share the ethos of living the American dream. As a country, we must honor the promises we made to them. After all, this is not a legal question – it is a moral one.
Walid Jawad is a former Senior Policy Analyst at U.S. Department of State and a former Washington, DC correspondent. He covered American politics for a number of TV outlets since 1997. Walid holds an undergraduate degree (BA) in Decision Science and Management Information Systems and a Masters in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. You can follow him @walidaj