Trump’s Decision on the Dreamers Coming Tuesday
While 800,000 young people and their families waited fearfully to see if the Trump Administration would turn their world upside down, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that the President’s decision about the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be announced on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
President Trump has sent mixed signals about the Dreamers, as these young immigrants are known. He has reversed certain Obama Administration policies to make it easier for certain immigrants to achieve legal status, but so far he has left DACA alone. Will that change on Tuesday? Many are very worried that it will.
The Dreamers are a highly sympathetic group: they arrived in this country as children, have gone through grade school and been part of their communities for years, sometimes not even knowing that they were not here legally. As they sought financial aid for college, driver’s licenses or jobs, they realized there were many constraints on their dreams. When the Obama Administration instituted DACA, it was a tremendous relief to hundreds of thousands of young people.
The Dreamers put their improved access to jobs and education to good use. A survey of 3,063 DACA young people conducted by United We Dream, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Center for American Progress found that 91 percent were employed, and 97 percent were in school and/or working. Since achieving legal status, their hourly wages rise from an average of $10.29 to $17.46. Among those 25 years or older, 8 percent started their own businesses, quite a bit higher than the U.S. average of 3.1 percent. A previous analysis by the Center for American Progress estimated that beneficiaries of DACA would contribute $460 billion to the U.S. economy (GDP) over the next decade.
Because they really do embody the American dream, young people benefiting from DACA have strong public support. Close to two-thirds of Americans support legal status for immigrants brought here as children, according to a new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll. Support is bipartisan, too. In today’s news, according to Slate, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) both voiced support for continuing legal status for the Dreamers. On the other hand, 10 Republican state Attorneys-General are threatening to sue the federal government if it does not end DACA. They’ve given the Trump Administration until September 5 to respond.
Let’s hope the Administration does the right thing. According to Trump’s press secretary, as reported in The Hill, “The president’s priorities on immigration are to create a system that encourages legal immigration and benefits our economy and American workers. The president has been very clear, he loves people and he wants to make sure this decision is done correctly.” Hard to know just what that means, but one thing is clear. Simply extending the program for a short time or allowing it to phase out gradually will take legal status away from these hundreds of thousands of young people; it will lead to their deportation. The nation benefits from the Dreamers’ contributions. They are our neighbors, our children, our co-workers. They’re helping to build our future.
Advocates are geared up to respond – in fact, as we’ve previously reported, they have been responding all through August. More activities are scheduled, starting September 5. To learn about activities in Washington and around the country, click here.