A rally for President Trump’s proposed border wall in San Diego, California, 2017 (left); DACA supporters at a protest
in Portland, Oregon, last fall (right)

Bill Wechter/Afp/Getty Images (left); Diego G Diaz/Shutterstock.com (right)

Should DACA Be Ended?

Last fall, President Trump announced that he would do away with DACA, a program that has protected from deportation hundreds of thousands of young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Trump said the program, which was created by President Barack Obama, was illegal, and he called on Congress to come up with a replacement. Congress hasn’t yet done so.

In the meantime, several judges have ruled that DACA must remain in place while various legal challenges work their way through the courts. Immigration groups have filed lawsuits to try to protect DACA, while seven states, led by Texas, have asked the courts to end it.

Here, a group that favors immigration restrictions and another that advocates for immigrants face off on whether the program should be discontinued.

In 2012, the Obama administration illegally usurped Congress’s power to write immigration laws when, in a memo, it created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA. DACA has granted work permits to approximately 800,000 immigrants who had illegally entered this country before they turned 16. 

This unconstitutional program should be ended. Only the people’s representatives in Congress have the authority to decide whether DACA recipients should be allowed to stay, and Congress has not passed legislation to do so.

DACA is essentially an amnesty program for those who’ve broken the law. Amnesties like DACA are fundamentally unfair to legal immigrants who followed the rules. Allowing DACA to remain in place would benefit parents who entered the country illegally with their children, cut in line, and disregarded the legal immigration process.

DACA is also unfair to Americans who must compete with DACA recipients for jobs. When DACA began, a study found that about 20 percent of those eligible lacked high school diplomas, so it’s likely that some DACA recipients are taking unskilled jobs that would have gone to the most disadvantaged Americans, both citizens and legal immigrants. DACA also doesn’t require recipients to learn English or prove they can support themselves.

DACA is essentially an amnesty program for those who’ve broken the law.

Besides, many DACA recipients came to the U.S. as young teens, not toddlers. Those young people spent their formative years in their home countries. It’s not unreasonable to require them to return. Once back, they could use the skills and education they received here to help make those countries better places to live. It does, however, make sense for Congress to shield from deportation those who were brought to America as little children—as long as we also make our border safer, so this doesn’t happen again.

The DACA program was illegal from the start, and it allows far too many people who came to the U.S. illegally to remain. It’s time to end it.


Director of Communications, Center for Immigration Studies

The 690,000 young people who are currently DACA recipients are our friends, our neighbors, our classmates, and our co-workers. They are Americans in every way, except on paper, and we must ensure they stay here.

DACA recipients are deeply entwined with the fabric of American life. They are teachers, students, pastors, members of the military, business owners, Eagle Scouts, computer programmers, and much more. In fact, a recent study found that 90 percent of DACA recipients are employed. DACA recipients contribute an estimated
$42 billion to the U.S. economy every year, according to a recent report.

The U.S. faces a worker shortage and a widening skills gap that hurt productivity and innovation. DACA recipients are crucial to countering these shortages and creating jobs that benefit all workers in the U.S.

Many DACA recipients were so young when they were brought to the U.S. that they have no memory of any other home. Some didn’t even realize they were here illegally until it came time for them to apply for college or a job.

DACA recipients are Americans in every way, except on paper.

If DACA recipients were to lose their protected status—and with it, their ability to work and contribute—hundreds of thousands of our neighbors would be driven out of their integral roles in communities throughout the country and into the shadows.

Ending DACA would be bad for the country as a whole, and it would also be morally wrong. These young people came forward and gave the federal government their names and addresses in order to apply for DACA. For the government to now use that information to find and deport them would be a betrayal of trust.

DACA has provided a temporary solution for young people who love this country, and for now we must keep it in place. In the end, however, Congress needs to pass a legislative solution that protects these young people—and our economic future—permanently.


Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

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