The End of DACA: An Opportunity or a Tragedy?

President Trump has announced that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will end in March 2018. This decision has drawn fire from hard-line restrictionists, who wanted him to cancel the program (as he once promised) “on day one” of his presidency and to deport all its participants.
On the other hand, many pro-immigrant groups would like DACA to continue indefinitely – or at least until comprehensive immigration reform, which is like saying “until it snows asparagus.”
The end of DACA could be a tragedy, not only for around 800,000 young people whom it currently protects, but also for their families and employers – not to mention the American economy, which would be severely shocked by the abrupt loss of so many productive workers.
But it could be an opportunity to do the right thing – if politicians act wisely and compassionately.
Nobody credibly sees DACA participants as threats, terrorists, or morally culpable for their “illegal” presence in America. They were brought to the United States as children and have established lives here. They qualified for DACA by pursuing education and showing good moral character.
Congress has often in the past had opportunities to pass the DREAM Act – a law that would provide such blameless, productive people with legal status. But politics on both sides – Republican and Democrat – have prevented the passage of this good legislation.
In general, Republican opposition has come from protectionist belief that immigrants steal jobs from Americans and the harsh notion that even children brought to the U.S. unlawfully must be punished for the sins of others.
In general, Democrats have undermined the DREAM Act by requiring that it be tied to the impossible dream of comprehensive immigration reform. They were not too disappointed when this failed, because it provided a good issue for the next campaign.
The pressure of a deadline for DACA now creates an incentive for Congress to step up and act like a body of adults. Passage of the DREAM Act or its equivalent should be a no-brainer for any official who has an ounce of compassion and claims to care more about the good of America than about re-election.
Will you, Sens. Tillis and Burr, stand up for the right cause? Will you, our 13 House members, set aside petty posturing and act for good?
Will you?

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