Opinion: Replace DACA aka the Path to Privilege ⋆ American Lens

Opinion: Replace DACA aka the Path to Privilege

In June of 2012, the Obama administration pushed a controversial policy entitled, DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Barack Obama - DACA - 061512 Rose Garden
Former President Obama delivers DACA Policy news. Image via YouTube.

“Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security is taking steps to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people. Over the next few months, eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization.” – Former President Barack Obama, June 15, 2012  (View video of the remarks)

This policy allowed for the children of illegal aliens, who were also themselves illegal, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

While this may seem to be a good way to begin the integration process for immigrants and to bolster the workforce, this policy flies in the face of the efforts of legal young Americans, many of whom are competing for the same jobs that these illegal immigrants are now eligible for.

The press release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from just under a year ago yields interesting data:

From April to July 2016, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old increased by 1.9 million to 20.5 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This year, 53.2 percent of young people were employed in July, little changed from a year earlier. (The month of July typically is the summertime peak in youth employment.) Unemployment among youth rose by 611,000 from April to July 2016, compared with an increase of 654,000 for the same period in 2015. (Because this analysis focuses on the seasonal changes in youth employment and unemployment that occur each spring and summer, the data are not seasonally adjusted.

Associating this data with an overall unemployment rate of a little over 4% and a youth unemployment rate of nearly 10%, coupled with an overall job participation rate of 63%, makes the idea of continuing DACA absurd.

However, this past Friday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to allow the furtherance of the DACA spirit to extend to government agencies or government-owned workplaces.

“Last night’s action by the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee making illegal aliens eligible for federal jobs is yet another example of why President Trump must honor his campaign pledge and repeal President [Barack] Obama’s unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” said a statement from the pro-American Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The necessity to repeal DACA was a core part of the Trump campaign’s promise to reform immigration policy. The time is now for congress to make good on the President’s campaign promises.

Youth Unemployment - DACAWhether you agree that we should have open or more restricted immigration policies,  the fact remains that if there is indeed a citizenship process and some are forced to play by a certain set of rules.  That rule book must apply for all citizens.

America is a nation built on the principles of justice for all under law. We abide by those laws so that our society can function in an orderly and predictable fashion. Once the law system is challenged by policies which threaten the necessity of participation to receive benefits, we’ve created a system where favoritism is shown to some and not others. A democratic system cannot exist where certain classes of people are afforded different rights or privileges than others.

DACA is set to be heard by a federal court this fall.  Our elected officials have a duty to protect the interests of American citizens. Americans who, by virtue of their citizenship, should be awarded the opportunity to work in America above those who do not have that endowment of citizenship.

With unemployment rates among youths crippling many urban minority communities, politicians should focus on relieving poverty and joblessness in those areas.  Their focus should not be trying to win ‘popular opinion’ by backing a partisan policy designed to placate small special interest groups.

This has real consequences for youth in this country. Every job that DACA allows an illegal immigrant to obtain is one less job a young person born legally in this country.

Our founders made it clear in our Constitution that the privileges afforded by that document were for American citizens.

Our government should be in the business of promoting the ‘general welfare’ of its citizens first and not the citizens of the world over. This is key, once a government values the interests of foreign nationals above the rights of its own native population the government begins to lose its legitimacy.

It’s time to dismantle DACA. Replace it with one that focuses on rewarding citizenship appropriately. Replace it with one that creates a smoother path for those interested in coming to work in this country to enjoy the privileges afforded in our Constitution.

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John Bianchi

John Bianchi is a marketing professional and the Chapter Leader for America's Future Foundation in Raleigh. You can keep up to date with his articles on Medium

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