If you’re worried about Dreamers, your priorities are confused


The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a worker’s permit for children whose parents entered the country when they were younger than 16. These workers pay taxes, $11.64 billion a year, even on Social Security even though they may never receive it. The average DACA recipient is 26 but came the United States at the age of 6, and 91 percent are employed and pay a total of $800 million annually renewing their DACA status every two years.

There are comprehensive background checks and requirements to even be considered for DACA—you cannot have a criminal record and receive the permit. There is currently no pathway to citizenship for DACA Dreamers, their permits can be renewed every two years, at which time they have to pay $500.

And even though the majority of the recipients are college-aged, they do not qualify for federal aid to help pay for higher education.

Donald Trump now wants to protect this program, which still doesn’t fully protect undocumented children, since they currently have no path to citizenship and are at no fault for entering the country, as they were minors at the time. At first he was adamantly anti-DACA, but suddenly made a quick switch. Many leaders are crying out against his decision to protect DACA, utilizing the rhetoric that “they’re stealing jobs or education from deserving Americans!”

But this stance is both entitled and inaccurate, since DACA recipients cannot qualify for federal aid for college and have to pay taxes that partially do not benefit themselves, and yet are so capable of succeeding despite roadblocks American citizens do not face.

Additionally, the Center for American Progress estimated that the United States would lose about $460 billion in GDP over the next 10 years without DACA, so if anything, Americans are benefitting from their presence.

The mindset that Americans are lacking—that there are not enough jobs, spots in college, scholarship funds—is simply a method of scapegoating personal failure and frustration by blaming undocumented immigrants. Dreamers are just as deserving for these spots as Americans, and even more so due to their ambition and ability to overcome financial and social obstacles.

Misinformation in tandem with xenophobic rhetoric sparked by the very president who now claims DACA recipients are “educated and accomplished” cultivates an un-American attitude of hatred and non-acceptance. Attacking Dreamers and burning your MAGA hat will not help during an era with multiple storms and terror attacks damaging lives, it just contributes to the hurt.

Your neighbor, your friend, or even your family may have experience with this ignorant hate following misinformation about DACA and other recent controversies. For example, the story of the Romeros, a family of Latin American descendent with a “Dreamer” daughter living in a rural part of the country, show bravery in exposing the cruelties casually tossed at them in their daily lives. Once the mother’s employer was joking about enslaving her and a friend mentioning their support of deporting people of color to the father, without realizing that he is undocumented. The father says that one thing is clear for his family: “We just don’t feel like we belong here anymore.”

In a time fraught with natural disasters and terror attacks, the last thing America needs to do is target Dreamers who are just trying to contribute to our country, but rather putting together our resources to build each other up in a society that gives everyone a fair shot at success, regardless of their citizenship status.