Six Months Later, Fate of Dreamers Still Uncertain
What does today, March 5, mean to you? For many, it will be an ordinary Monday of returning to work or school after a weekend well spent with family and friends. But for more than 700,000 young immigrants benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, today is a reminder of the Trump administration's decision to end DACA, of Congress' failed attempt to enact a legislative solution protecting Dreamers' futures, and of the continued uncertainty that threatens all that they know.
Congressional leaders have been unable to rise above their political differences and implement a policy solution that would benefit our nation's hardworking immigrant population who contribute significantly to our nation's economic prosperity.
Since last September, a number of immigration bills have been introduced in Congress, but progress on finding a bipartisan solution has stalled. Fortunately, a federal judge ordered the administration to resume DACA renewals under the same terms and conditions that were in effect before President Trump's decision to end the program, and the Supreme Court rejected the administration's request for an expedited review of the lower court decision while the case continues to make its way through our court system.
While this temporary continuation of the DACA program is good news, Dreamers and those without DACA protections remain uncertain about their futures. DACA offers hundreds of thousands of young people a lifeline to economic opportunity. The program grants recipients the ability to pursue a postsecondary education and employment-two vital components of American life that allow one to live with dignity, self-respect, and purpose.
At the same time, our economy improves significantly when young immigrants are granted the opportunity to contribute to society. Ninety-seven percent of DACA beneficiaries are in school or the workforce. Eliminating the DACA program without a replacement would result in the loss of roughly 685,000 workers and $460.3 billion from the national GDP over the next 10 years. DACA beneficiaries contribute to our economy in many ways, and they are among our nation's teachers, doctors, lawyers, business owners, and public servants.
As a nation dependent upon the education and skills of young immigrants, we can no longer disrupt Dreamers' pursuit of educational and workforce pathways. Even those lucky enough to be able to renew their DACA permits are still left with uncertainty or have experienced educational and work disruptions while waiting to receive renewal confirmation from the federal government.
We cannot expect our communities, educational institutions, and employers, to function at their very best when experiencing constant whiplash regarding the fate of young immigrants. Today is the day for a legislative solution for Dreamers.
Photo Credit: (Reuters photo: Kyle Grillot)