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To the editor:

What is DACA? It’s an acronym for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is a policy that protects nearly 800,000 young people known as “DREAMers.” The participants in this program entered the United States unlawfully as children, usually brought in by their parents. The program doesn’t grant these individuals official legal status or a pathway to citizenship, but it does allow them to apply for a work permit, driver’s license, and Social Security number. The DACA program was created after Congress failed to pass President Obama’s Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which is why the program’s participants are known as “DREAMers.” The goal was to grant legal status to young immigrants living in the United States. Due to the lack of legislative support, Obama issued DACA via executive order in 2012 as a temporary measure. The original DACA program allowed young non-documented immigrants to avoid deportation and obtain work permits for a period of two years and created a program that was renewable based on good behavior. In September 2017, the Trump administration announced that it would start to phase out the DACA program. Multiple court cases prevented the full repeal of the program. Along with the Supreme Court ruling in 2020 stating that an attempt to do so was “arbitrary and capricious” and a violation of federal law too. Regardless of the ruling, President Trump was still able to put various restrictions in place. Some of those restrictions include: a reduction in the length of time the program ran from two years to one, all renewals had to be within 120-150 days before the existing application expired, and most importantly the rejection of all new DACA applications. Since then, “DREAMers” have been subjected to a political tug of war. Most recently in July 2021, when a federal judge ruled that first-time DACA applications would no longer be accepted. This came after President Biden issued an executive order formally reinstating the program in January 2021. Why should we care? There are many humanitarian reasons why, but I’ll focus on the financial side of things since that seems to be what matters most to people. The DACA program has allowed participants to gain better career prospects through continued schooling, which has led to higher paying jobs in better conditions. Thanks to the opportunities provided through DACA, recipients are projected to contribute over $5.6 billion annually in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes. I ask that as a nation we don’t forget our roots in immigration. That we show support to polices that are conducive in allowing immigrants to pursue their own versions of the American Dream. Thank you and God bless the USA.

David Guadarrama


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