10 years ago, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy was put into place to help illegal immigrants who came here as children avoid leaving the only country they’ve ever known. Known frequently as “dreamers”, these people have been through the gauntlet and came out the other side anxious for a chance to become full-fledged citizens.
Just like any other Democratic idea, these dreamers have been left high and dry on getting actual citizenship. While they appreciate the opportunities DACA has provided them, it hasn’t fixed the problem. Receiving protection from deportation; a Social Security number and work permit; the opportunity to get employer-based health insurance; a driver’s license; and for some, the ability to leave the country temporarily and return.
Those kinds of benefits are great things for dreamers.
Problem is, that the DACA needs to be renewed every 2 years, and costs $495 each renewal. It also doesn’t get them in-state tuition, and that out-of-state rate can be twice as expensive. With no federal student aid, DACA isn’t really providing the college-aged dreamers the help they need either.
The ability to leave the country and return is an incredibly complex process, and it’s not guaranteed. For many, this ends up meaning that they cannot leave the US at all. It also means they cannot hold down Federal jobs, or utilize federal programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
While all of this is bad news for the dreamers, many are happy to pay the money and enjoy the opportunity to breathe without worrying about INS coming and scooping them up. Juliana Macedo de Nascimento, deputy director of federal advocacy for United We Dream, an immigrant youth-led network, and a DACA recipient has been very vocal about getting more protections and programs going for Dreamers.
“It’s temporary and can be challenged in court … and that takes a tremendous emotional toll on us. We don’t feel secure. We don’t have certainty in our lives. We feel very much like second-class citizens, not even citizens.”
The truth of the matter is, they aren’t citizens; second-class, or any class. Rather, the Democrats gave them something incredibly crooked. In a move some have called “Time-Share Citizenship”, they have given them a taste of the good life. A taste of being citizens. Then after taking their money, and not letting them fully enjoy it, they are taking that taste away.
Considering how soft the left has been on illegal immigration for the last 10 years or more, the DACA program was a way to milk a little bit of money from each recipient every two years so they could keep money flowing in. Lori Reis, director of the Border Security and Immigration Center at the Heritage Foundation has been watching the shift in immigration for years now and is concerned about where we are now and where we might be headed.
“Amnesty by whatever name is not good policy because it just begets more illegal immigration. We need a lawful and orderly immigration system. And as long as people are allowed to come in illegally and remain here illegally, people will choose that path.” She admits that the process for immigration into the US has “become more complex and more confusing,” but she stops short of having suggestions for how to fix it.
For the dreamers, this dream is coming to an end, and while they likely enjoyed their break from reality, there isn’t a fairy godmother to whisk them away to citizenship. Rather, their worst nightmares are very likely to be coming true as they will not be allowed to renew their DACA status, and they will likely be sent back to their country of origin. Not legal here, and unfamiliar there, they will now have no home. All this, thanks to the left.