Tuesday, September 5, 2017

#SaveDACA

http://www.citylab.com; September 1, 2017

Hello Everyone:

Yours Truly is back from a restful Labor Weekend and ready to go.  Before we get started on today's current events-inspired post, a quick reminder about Hurricane Harvey.  Donations are still needed and you can text 90999 (minimum $10) to the American Red Cross or go to http://www.redcross.org.  Thanks, now onward.

The news went hyper-viral this morning.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this morning, 

...the Trump administration's intention to officially rescind the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, effectively ending the 2012 program, that has deferred deportations for those who came to the United States as young immigrants... (http://www.cbsnews.com; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

This was a sort of expected announcement from an administration that has made immigration a high priority.  AG Sessions told assembled group:

We are people of compassion, and we're people of law-but there's nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration...(http://www.justice.gov; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

This argument was intended to emphasize the argument that DACA, enacted through an executive order, as an example of federal overreach. AG Sessions continued,

...The nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we accept each year, and that means all cannot be accepted...(Ibid)

This all-but-final (pending Congressional approval) decision, that Mr. Donald Trump allegedly vacillated on for months (http://www.nytimes.com; Sept. 4, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017), places the DACA-eligible in an extremely precarious state.  The DREAMers-the name for DACA-eligible young women and men referencing the 2001 DREAM Act (http://www.congress.gov; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017) lays out a path to citizenship-lose their protection in phases and be subject to deportation.  Hardly compassionate.

Rescinding this popular program is not only cruel but also morally unconscionable.  In an eloquent post on his Facebook page, former-President Barack Obama condemned the action.  Further, by rescinding DACA, the consequences are likely to have negative economic impact.  Tanvi Misra's CityLab article, "Which States Have Most to Lose From DACA Elimination," discusses the state-by-state ramifications of rescinding this order.

"Where the DACA-eligible live"

Ms. Misra writes, "Illegal immigration to the country rose after the 1965 immigration overhaul, which diversified the nation's immigrant population (http://www.citylab.com; Sept. 28 2015; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017) as a whole, but had the unintended consequenc of limiting already established flows from Mexico (http://www.washingtonpost.com; Sept. 25 2015; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017).  In the nineties, the U.S. strengthened its southern border and increased penalties for immigration offenses (http://www.vox.com; Apr. 28, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017). This stopped the historic cyclical flow of migration.  Princeton University Douglas Massey explained in Foreign Policy: "ramping up border security didn't keep migrants out; it kept them from returning home."  (http://www.foreignpolicy.com; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

Naturally, their families soon made the perilous border crossing to join their loved ones in the U.S. spreading out and building new lives across big cities, small towns [http:washingtonpost.com; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017], and rural areas [http://www.motherjones.com; Aug. 16, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017].  Their children, now adults in their twenties, have spent the majority of their lives in the U.S. are more like the second generation immigrants of the late-19th, early 20th-century: fluent in English and integrated into American culture.  Interestingly, "Many didn't even know they were undocumented [http://www.cnn; Dec 30, 2014; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017]."  Richard Cohen, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a statement today following the annoucement:

Many perhaps most, of these young people know no other home...They're Americans (http:splcenter.org)

University of California, San Diego professor Tom Wong surveyed over 3,000 DACA recipients last month.  Tanvi Misra reports, "He found that on average, respondents reported coming to America around the age of six."  The conclusions from the survey prove that DACA helped these young women and men come out from the shadows and become a productive part of American society: "They have been able to work in higher-paying jobs, get driver's licenses, start businesses [http://www.americanprogress.org; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017], go to college [http://www.news.harvard.edu; May 4, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017], buy homes, and take care of their children [http://www.vox.com; Sept 1, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017]."  In essence, become entirely self-sufficient and better positioned to meaningfully contribute to the economy.  In the survey, published by the Center for American Progress, Prof. Wong and his co-authors wrote,

Our findings could not paint a clearer picture: DACA has been unreservedly good for the U.S. economy and for U.S. society more generally... (http://www.americanprogress.org; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

Back to our original question, where do DACA-eligible young people live?  The Migration Policy Institute (http://www.migrationpolicy; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017) generated a handy inter-active map that allows the user to visualize where the DACA-eligible populations are in each state.  It also allows the user to zoom in on the counties where they make up the largest demographic.  No surprise, California has the largest share of DACA-eligible population-30 percent of the total U.S. population-followed by the bright red state of Texas, the equally blue state of New York, and the-just-as-red state of Florida.

"Where Eliminating DACA will cause most harm"

Tanvi Misra write, "In a press call preceding Sessions' announcement, Department of Homeland Security officials announced that they wind down the program an  in the lest disruptive fashion."  Right.  DHS's definition of least disruptive fashion is: "The administration will not accept any new applications, which means those who going to age into the program in 2017 will never see its benefits."  Current DACA-eligible recipients will forfeit their right to work as soon as a few months, or as late as 2019, thus targets for deportation once they lose their protection.  Current applications in the DHS system will be processed on an individual, case-by-case basis.  Ms, Misra writes, "The information on DACA recipients that the federal government currently has will not be proactively used for immigration enforcement, with few exceptions."

The Center for American Progress released "Study: The Impact of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program Repeal On Jobs" (http://www.dreamers.fwd.us; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017), which calculated that "more than 30,000 individuals would lose their jobs every month as a result of DACA elimination, and around 700,000 total over the next two years."  An analysis released in July "A New Threat to DACA Could Cost States Billions of Dollars," (http://www.americanprogress.org; July 21, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017), CAP estimated "that a protracted blow will come over the next ten years in the form of a $460.3 billion loss to the national GDP."  CityLab created a map (http://www.citylab.com; Sept. 1, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017) based on CAP's state-by-state breakdown of annual GDP loss.

California, Texas, Washington, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York would suffer the biggest annual GDP loss with the elimination of DACA.  Texas could potentially lose $6.2 billion.  The irony here is that the state has been leading the charge to eliminate DACA (http://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017).  California potentially has the most to lose: "$11.6 billion annually."

Never one to waste a tweet, the president chimed in early this morning:

Congress, get ready to your job-DACA @realDonaldTrump (http://www.twitter.com; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017)

His pre-dawn declaration puts the burden on Congress to provide relief for the DACA-eligible young women and men.  Considering the president has already alienated Congressional and Republican Party leadership, Blogger doubts that the House of Representatives and the Senate will readily comply with his demand.  DACA advocates are also pushing members of Congress, specially the Republicans to pass a bipartisan initiative, the Bridge Act introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) with three co-sponsors. (http://www.huffpost.com; Jan. 12, 2017; date accessed Sept. 5, 2017).  While the Bridge Act would not grant full protection to DREAMers, instead it would provide provisional protection in the coming months (Ibid).  It has some merit and be the best option for DACA recipients.

Mr. Trump wants to believe that what he and his administration are doing is compassionate yet putting the rule of law first.  He genuinely believes that he is putting America and American jobs first. Rescinding DACA will spark a real conversation about immigration reform.  Yet, after his morally unconscionable pardon of former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and refusal to outright condemn white supremacists in the wake of Charlottesville, the current occupant of the Oval Office has lost all moral authority and credibility.  The next question is will Congressional Republicans finally grow a spine and stand up to this president?  Highly doubtful.  Yours Truly hardly thinks it is compassionate to tear apart families and forcibly remove 800,000 people from the only they know, sending them to place they have no connection to.  Rescinding DACA is a disgrace to United States and all of its values.