No more stalling on a DACA resolution


Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Columnist Isaiah Reynolds says there needs to be a resolution soon for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which is set to expire in March 2018.

By Isaiah Reynolds , Columnist

Surrounding the recent and dramatic shutdown of the federal government, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has once again been a big topic of conversation.  

The University is home to dozens of “Dreamers,” or those granted deferred action. Months ago, talks of protecting those students, among the other 800,000 DACA recipients around the country, were prevalent in the news cycles. These conversations and stories have unfortunately since died down.

Established by former President Barack Obama in 2012, DACA has provided countless immigrants who arrived as children with eligibility for a work permit and a renewable two-year deferral from deportation. The immigration policy does not, however, provide an easy route to gain citizenship for those granted deferred action.

In relation to the government shutdown, Newsweek reports that the Democrats’ refusal to vote on a funding solution without the extension of DACA caused major friction for the Republican representatives who did not want to include the program that would most likely “anger (their) base,” according to Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise.

The Democratic representatives are under fire after their compromise to end the government shutdown was seen as a lack of support for DACA recipients. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s promise to present a vote on DACA by Feb. 8 pushes such an important immigration policy to the back-burner once again as the program is set to expire in March 2018.

These un-prioritized negotiations is a continuation in the long timeline of U.S. lawmakers and politicians making immigration reform and DACA-related decisions a secondary priority.

This kind of stalling only allows xenophobia to ferment, as many see the lack of political decisions for reform as an ostracization of the immigrant population, promoting age-old rhetoric against the group.

There is no “right way” or “line” when it comes to the path for citizenship. Individuals can wait anywhere between five to 25 years to be granted citizens while still investing thousands of dollars into application fees and immigration lawyers, making it imperative to establish some form of pathway for citizenship for DACA recipients.

Out of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, roughly 8 million are estimated to be working. This population has contributed an estimated $11.64 billion in taxes from property, personal income and sales tax, according to Forbes.

Rumor has it that many of those immigrants who came through Ellis Island the so-called “right way” wouldn’t have been so fortunate in today’s circumstances. According to the American Immigration Council, immigration laws today require possible immigrants to be close relatives of permanent residents, have offers of employment or be refugees seeking asylum.

The lack of limitations on the “American Dream” seems to be a privilege many European descendants have happily forgotten about.

Citizenship is a game of chance. There is no way to earn or to deserve one’s birth country and citizenship.

We cannot afford to waste any more time stalling on a DACA resolution. Communicating with elected officials is imperative in the fight for immigrant lives and rights.

As the program quickly approaches an end, it is more than necessary for politicians and those they represent to realize the severity of this decision and to consider the 800,000 American lives that this decision would drastically alter.

Isaiah is a sophomore in Media.

[email protected]