Immigration In America And The Daca Program

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‘Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists” (Franklin D. Roosevelt).

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For many years immigration has been a controversial topic, despite the fact that most of us are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Unless one is a Native American, most people migrated here from Mexico, China, or any other country besides the United States. The majority of immigrants in this country are here for many reasons, but one of the primary reasons is to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families. There have been many issues in regards to finding a solution to the unfixed immigration system in the United States. Everyone has their individual opinion in regards to immigration and how illegal immigrants are shaping the U.S today. In recent years, we have made an attempt to pass the Dream Act, which failed. However, the DACA program was successfully passed, but has it been beneficial? Unfortunately, it was not as effective as the Dream Act would have been.

Immigration equality explains the new policy that was created by president Obama. “On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama created a new policy that called for deferred action for eligible undocumented youth and young adults who were brought to this country as children.”  This executive order allowed many young undocumented immigrants to avoid temporarily deportation from the United States. Young individuals who meet these requirements are granted a two year deferred action, which means they will avoid deportation, and are able to renew their application every two years. ‘Individuals requesting deferred action must pay $465 in fees’. This cost includes fee charges that are necessary to complete the application. DACA, however, does not grant a pathway to citizenship for these individuals and can be removed at any time.

This executive order granted millions of undocumented immigrants a social security number, worker ‘s permit, and a valid driver ‘s license. The process towards being granted or denied DACA was extremely frightening for some, especially for those with criminal records. An applicant will be denied DACA if he/she has been convicted of a felony/significant misdemeanor, or 3 or more misdemeanors, and is viewed as a public safety or national security threat. However, there are some individual cases that can be discussed with immigration lawyers, on a case-to case basis to ensure that you are eligible to qualify and be granted DACA. This is important to many DACA qualifiers that fear deportation, and being taken away from their families at any time. This policy grants them things that are beneficial towards an improved future.

The DACA policy most certainly benefited young undocumented immigrants who have the desire to further on their studies, and have a great future ahead of them regardless of their immigration status. Besides evading deportation temporarily, millions of those who are granted DACA were are able to obtain for higher quality jobs, along with being able to qualify for benefits such as health care insurance, and also be able to apply for colleges and universities. ‘One study found that three out of five successful applicants earned a new job, half opened their first bank account, and a third obtained their first credit cards after receiving DACA. (‘Deferred Action’). It was a weight off the shoulders for those who feared deportation. “Sixty-six percent of respondents to one survey agreed to the statement, ‘I am no longer afraid because of my immigration status.’ Additionally, 64 percent agreed with the statement, “I feel more like I belong in the U.S.” (Pérez). This caused them to feel more confident in their everyday life, and has led them towards being more involved in their communities.

Although Obama ‘s DACA program opened many doors for undocumented individuals, it was not as beneficial as the DREAM Act would have been. The DREAM Act, which is also known as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, is dissimilar from the DACA program. “The primary difference between DACA and the Dream Act is that unlike the Dream Act, DACA is non-permanent and does not grant legal status.” The Dream Act proposal would have been able to grant undocumented immigrants in the United States to further qualify for legal status and obtain a green card. Qualifying individuals will first be granted a conditional status for a limited period of time, and will then be placed on the path towards citizenship. Unlike DACA, dream act qualifiers will be able to petition for their parents or relatives, although it may take a few years before they do so.

In order to obtain this policy, an individual must have been brought illegally to the U.S when they were 15 years or younger, attend two years of college, or serve two years in the military, and successfully complete a background check. They must also have a high school diploma and lived in the United States for at least five years. Although “The bill failed on a 55-41 vote”(Bendavid). In order to become filibustered, it was required to have a minimum of 60 votes (Bendavid). Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) addressed those who ‘d appealed directly to him to support the bill. ‘You ‘re wasting your time,’ he said. ‘We ‘re not going to pass the Dream Act, or any legalization program, until we secure our borders.’ Senator Lindsey Graham implies that by securing the borders, there will be enhanced protection for this country in regards to who enters the U.S. Many criminals each year cross the border illegally to enter the United Sates for an improved future. Many are viewed as criminals due to the fact that they have broken the law. However, there is no other legal way to enter the United States at this time.

For most people, immigration is an emotional topic that surrounds the lives of the majority of the population in America. Whether you are born in a different country or in the United States, every individual is equal. Millions of young undocumented immigrants have the urge to become successful and do boundless things in the future. Their parents risked their lives coming into the U.S for an improved future. They are taking labor jobs for a low income wage in order to provide for their families. These jobs such as housekeepers, construction laborers, and many low wage jobs require no education and are being taken by illegal immigrants. People must take advantage of the opportunities they are granted and help shape the United States for the better. One should never live in constant fear of one day seeing their parents or family members being deported. Undocumented immigrants came here for a better life, and future for their families. They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way – except on paper. Some came to our country – sometimes even as infants – and yet they live under the threat of removal to a country they may know little about, with a language they may not even speak.’ (United States). America will be great again once we set aside the negative actions, and take charge of the things that are beneficial to our country.

16 December 2021

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