What a DACA repeal means for Michigan

A diagram of a DACA recipient (pointing to grad hat) 65% are currently in school. Of that percent, 8-% are going for an associates or bachelors, and 17% are going for post-graduate degree. (pointing at briefcase) 76% are employed, including 45% of those also in school. The majority of these report that, after DACA, they were able to find employment that was better paying and had improved working conditions. (pointing at chest) Those receiving DACA are currently anywhere between 16 and 35 years old, but they were much younger when they arrived. Average age at time of arrival is 6, but the majority arrived around age 3. (pointing at pockets) Better employment has also lead to more money and ownership: on average, there has been a 45% increase in wages after signing up for DACA, and 21% have recently bought their first car.

Graphic by Natalie Jarvie | Washtenaw Voice

By Brittany Dekorte

On Sept. 9, President Donald Trump announced that his administration would “wind down” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

This program, put into place by the Obama administration, with the intent on keeping children who were brought to the U.S. by their undocumented parents to stay in the U.S. President Trump plans on giving congress six months to act on immigration reform.

According to professor Lynn Rivers, who teaches political science at Washtenaw Community College and once represented the 53rd district of Michigan in congress, this planned repeal is “perfectly legal”. As DACA was an administrative program, it can be rescinded without congress by the executive branch.

“Just because it’s a good idea, doesn’t change the wording set by the U.S. constitution,” said Rivers.

And there is evidence that DACA is a good idea, in that it’s helping the economy. According to a study by the Center for American Progress, there are more than 5,000 DACA recipients living and working in the state of Michigan. The repeal of DACA could cost the Michigan economy alone over $300 million a year.

Many think the DACA program has been a good idea: a POLITICO poll has shown that 58 percent of Americans feel DACA recipients, also called “Dreamers”, should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and apply for citizenship, while another 18 percent feel they should be allowed to become legal residents.

Along with general public outcry, major businesses have also denounced the plan. The CEOs of Google, which has offices in southeast Michigan, and Amazon, who is opening up a new distribution warehouse in Livonia, co-signed an open letter entitled “The Leaders of America on DACA”. In the letter, they pointed out that “at least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies count Dreamers among their employees,” and expressed their concern about the repeal effect on the economy.

Rivers also spoke in concern of the individual lives affected. “If they are deported, they will have to return to their parent’s country, and basically get in the back of the line. In some cases, this could strip them of their chances to ever return,” said Rivers.

If you or someone you know is a DACA recipient or is affected by the repeal of DACA, the Washtenaw Voice would like to hear your story. Reach out to Editor Brittany Dekorte at bdekorte@wccnet.edu



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