Trump Ends DACA: Will Congress Save Dreamers?


Undocumented workers and students protested at the DNC in 2012. (That’s me in the turquoise dress before the cops told me to move.)

Our country’s most ill-prepared president just lobbed one of our country’s stickiest problems into the court of the country’s least effective Congress, ever. What could go wrong? The dreams of nearly one million young people.

On Sept. 5, 2017, Attorney General and long-time anti-immigration advocate Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s decision to rescind President Obama’s executive order that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Implemented five years ago, DACA was supposed to be a stop-gap measure to shield children and young adults, who were brought to the US illegally as minors by their parents. The plan was that Congress would move on immigration reform while DACA protected these young people from immediate deportation.

Roughly 800,000 young adults under DACA could face deportation if Congress fails to act within the next six months. The crux of the problem is that DACA was created because Congress shirked its duty on meaningful immigration reform. For 16 years, Congress has failed to pass any immigration reform– let alone comprehensive reform, which is sorely needed. Even the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) — which outlined a path to citizenship for Dreamers– has died a bipartisan death in Congress multiple times, since it was originally proposed in 2001.

Will Congress have the guts to save the Dreamers now?

Who are the Dreamers?

Most Dreamers were three years old when their parents brought them to the US; this is the only country they know. According to the New York Times, of the roughly 800,000 Dreamers under DACA, most are from Mexico and close to a quarter million of them (222,795) live in California. The next largest group — 124,300– lives in Texas; Arizona has the 6th largest group of Dreamers with 27,865. DACA-eligible immigrants have higher skills than undocumented immigrants who are ineligible because they were raised and educated in the United States. DACA-eligible workers are more likely to work in sales or office jobs than other undocumented workers. Seventy percent of Dreamers said they “got a job with better pay” when they came out of the shadows and registered with DACA.

deportationPoliticians like to tout the US as a “Christian nation” and a “nation of laws”. The Dreamers have followed the path set out for them. They came out of the shadows and registered for DACA, they went to school or the military, and they went to work. They kept of their part of the bargain, and now our broken government– a government that is strangled by right wing ideology and controlled by money– is poised to break its promise. A “Christian nation” would not break its promises to these young people, destroy their lives and their families, and shut the door in their faces.

Playing Politics with People’s Lives

Besides throwing the lives of millions of Americans into unnecessary financial and personal chaos, DACA deportations could cost our country an estimated $400 billion. The majority of DACA participants are employed. Eliminating 800,000 educated workers from the workforce and requiring businesses to go through the process of re-hiring and re-training workers– just to fulfill a mean-spirited campaign promise– is fiscally and morally irresponsible. The impact of deportations will be felt unevenly across the country, with the biggest financial impacts coming to California ($11.3 billion/year) and Texas ($6.1 billion/year). At $1.3 billion/year, the financial impact to Arizona is not insignificant.

There is a bipartisan movement to force Speaker of the House and self-proclaimed devout Catholic Paul Ryan to hear the DREAM Act if 218 representatives sign onto it. Obviously, getting off their duffs and passing at least some form of the DREAM Act is the morally and economically just course of action. Unfortunately, just because something makes sense on multiple levels doesn’t mean that our dysfunctional Congress will act.

Deporting Dreamers is morally wrong and economically unsound. Congress granted amnesty to three million “illegal immigrants” in 1986 under the direction of President Ronald Reagan. If they fail to act now, they have lost their moral compass. What would Jesus do, Mr. Ryan?

12 responses to “Trump Ends DACA: Will Congress Save Dreamers?

  1. schumer and pelosi had a chance to bring up dreamer bill with trump today and get a deal ;but as congressman guiterrez said corporate democrats were more interested in what their corporate donors wanted. keeping the government from default for the banksters and aid for the business like the big oil companies in texas harvey funds.

  2. For Sure Not Tom

    The question is being asked why lying-Birther Joe Arpaio deserves a pardon, even after he admitted to breaking the law, but the innocent Dreamers do not.

    Is it because they’re brown?

    We report, you decide!

    • “The question is being asked why lying-Birther Joe Arpaio deserves a pardon, even after he admitted to breaking the law, but the innocent Dreamers do not.”

      What does Arpaios pardon have to do with eliminating the DACA Program? You are making another of your non-sequitor comparisons of apples to oranges. A pardon has nothing to do with the DACA Program, nor could a pardon have helped any Dreamer. I realize you often like to compare things that have absolutely nothing to do with each other in some twisted rationalization for a point you are trying to make, but you really make no sense with this one.

      • For Sure Not Tom

      • Thank you, Tom! You make my point better than I can. I make a point about how you introduce non-sequitors and pretend they mean something in order to make a point and, lo and behold, you do exactly that by posting a silly attachment that has nothing to do with the point I was making. Good job!

  3. For Sure Not Tom

    From Cronkite News and other sources – “The Cato Institute predicted the repeal of DACA and the expense of immediate deportation would cost the federal government more than $60 billion, and the resulting loss of economic growth in the next decade will amount to $280 billion.”

    CATO says ending DACA will cost Arizona alone 13 billion dollars over ten years.


    My math says that’s $2100.00 per Arizonan per year.

    Who knew racism could be so expensive!

    Maybe it would help if we started teaching these “free market” cult members how Capitalism actually works.

    Capitalism 101 : Chapter One : Capitalism Requires Growth.

    Now class, what do you have if you take away away 800,000 people?

    That’s right! You have the opposite of growth!


    • Yup – eliminating DACA will cost Arizona $1.3 billion per year. #BadAtMath

    • California lawmakers defend DACA with an eye on lawsuit against Trump’s action

      Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers will seek to blunt effort to end DACA
      “California has its eyes on Congress to do what it should have done years ago, but we cannot bank on that,” said Brown’s top aide, Nancy McFadden, as the governor was traveling to an energy summit in Russia.

      Democratic leaders of the California Legislature accused Trump of acting primarily to appease his conservative political base. And they pledged to take steps in Sacramento to protect thousands of immigrants who benefit from the protections, known as “Dreamers.”

      “The Dreamers who were brought to this country as young children, who are American to their core, deserve better,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount). “The Legislature will do everything we can working with local governments, universities and schools to keep these young people secure, safe and here where they belong.”

      An analysis this year by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute found that California is home to more than 1 in 4 DACA participants, scattered among the Central Valley’s agricultural counties or clustered in urban areas. Los Angeles County topped the list with 180,000 eligible residents.

      California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra promised legal action to challenge the Trump administration’s decision, arguing Tuesday that it was unconstitutional in light of the fact that the young immigrants followed the rules as instructed and, as such, may be denied their due process rights.

      “They did what we always ask people to do,” Becerra said. “No one should be treated this way.”

      Becerra and 19 other state attorneys general penned a letter to Trump in July urging him to defend the program, one month after Texas and nine other states threatened to sue if it wasn’t scrapped.

      • “…arguing Tuesday that it was unconstitutional in light of the fact that the young immigrants followed the rules as instructed and, as such, may be denied their due process rights.”

        When has that ever been a criteria to determine Contitutionality? If the underlying Program was unconsitutional – and it is – then it doesn’t matter if they followed the rules as instructed.

    • Now this…
      SEPTEMBER 6, 2017
      States file lawsuit challenging Trump decision on Dreamers

      NEW YORK (Reuters) – Fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging President Donald Trump’s decision to end protections and benefits for young people who were brought into the United States illegally as children.

      The multistate lawsuit filed by a group of Democratic attorneys general on Wednesday to protect beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program argues their state economies will be hurt if residents lose their status.

      The lawsuit seeks to block Trump’s decision and maintain DACA.

      Read more…

      • “The multistate lawsuit filed by a group of Democratic attorneys general on Wednesday…argues their state economies will be hurt if residents lose their status.”

        Again, when has this ever been a criteria to determine Constitutionality? If the states are benefiting from something that is unconstitutional, then they deserve to lose those benefits because the Constitution cannot be waived for economic self interest.