As part of its anti-immigrant cruelty, the Trump administration has continuously attempted to end or weaken the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which offers work authorization and temporary relief from detention or deportation for individuals who arrived to the US as children. These attempts threaten to harm DACA recipients who are our coworkers and classmates; members of our communities; and parents to a quarter of a million of our country’s children.
The Supreme Court’s ruling this summer found that the administration acted improperly in terminating DACA and kept the program safe for now. However, the ruling left open opportunities for the Trump administration to continue its attempt to end the program, creating uncertainties about the program’s future.
If DACA protections end, it will have unimaginable developmental, emotional, and economic impacts on children and families. And even though courts have blocked attempts to end DACA for now, the ongoing threats and uncertainty alone have weighed heavily on DACA recipients and their families. A 2018 survey found that over half of DACA recipients worried about being deported on a daily basis. In the survey, three out of every four DACA parents reported worrying daily about being separated from their child and not being able to see their child grow up.
Not only do these threats create fear and emotional distress among Dreamers and their families, they are also causing economic harms. The uncertainties around DACA’s future have led companies to turn away qualified job applicants because they are Dreamers. “These employers, including Procter & Gamble, say they are wary of investing time and money to train workers whose long-term employment eligibility is not secure.” This trend of denying jobs to Dreamers is not new, but has only intensified as the Trump administration continues to attack the program. And amid the ongoing pandemic and high unemployment rates, these threats to employment are even more concerning for DACA recipients and their families.
DACA has been found to positively affect the lives of recipients, their families, their communities, and local economies. DACA protections help recipients move to jobs with better working conditions and benefits, pursue educational opportunities, purchase cars and homes, and become more involved in their communities. DACA is a vital program – and the ongoing attacks are unnecessary, dangerous, and cruel.
Read more about the economic impacts of the continuous threats to DACA here.