AACRAO denounces President Trump's reprehensible actions to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama-era program serves as a refuge for over 800,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. as infants of children—thousands of whom are now currently enrolled in colleges and universities across the country and poised to make positive contributions to our nation and economy.
The callous move to effectively end DACA in six months is one purely motivated by politics. Research has consistently shown that a repeal of the program would harm the economy and cost the U.S. government a significant amount of lost tax revenue. One study estimated that the immediate impact of deporting current DACA recipients would cost the federal government over $60 billion and reduce economic growth by $280 billion over the next decade. Another recent survey found that DACA recipients continue to make positive and significant contributions to the U.S. economy, including earning higher wages that translates into higher tax revenue and overall economic growth that benefits all Americans. DACA recipients are buying cars, purchasing their first homes, and even creating new businesses, according to the research.
The president's decision will wreak havoc on the lives of hundreds of thousands of young individuals, their families, and the institutions that serve them. AACRAO stands firm in its support of DACA and will continue to push for the preservation of the program through Congress. Additionally, the association will continue to champion for a more long-term solution to allow Dreamers to continue to contribute to our great nation.
There are already a number of bipartisan proposals to provide a more permanent legislative solution, and we strongly urge Congress to act swiftly and compassionately to preserve the only home these young people have known.
In January, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced legislation to provide temporary relief for DACA recipients should the program be discontinued under the Trump administration. The Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act would provide "provisional protected presence" and employment authorization to DACA-eligible individuals for three years after the date of enactment of the legislation. The temporary protection would to ensure that these young people can continue to work and study and be shielded from deportation while Congress debates broader immigration legislation.
Or, better yet, the same pair of senators in July introduced a new version of the Dream Act, which would create a pathway for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to become permanent residents and apply for citizenship.
AACRAO implores lawmakers to move quickly and decisively on the Dream Act, or at least the BRIDGE Act. We also encourage you to contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives to express your support for these legislative proposals to restore the American dream for these hardworking and determined young people.