In an article published by the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund in July of 2017, author Carmen Cornejo makes a call to action on behalf of the DACA Program. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was established in 2012 and acts as crucial legal protection for children who arrived in the US as undocumented immigrants. Through DACA, those who meet certain prerequisites are eligible for relief from deportation, a social security number, and a worker’s permit. The program expires after two years and can be renewed upon expiration.
In Cornejo’s article, she discusses a pressing urgency to protect DACA in the midst of ongoing attacks from right-wing political extremists who wish to prevent undocumented immigrants from living in the United States. This stance is often a result of anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia. As a significant portion of undocumented immigrants have emmigrated from Latin America to flee violence and poverty, undocumented immigrants are frequently socioeconomically vulnerable when they arrive in the United States.
DACA recipients are often undocumented youth who have spent or plan to spend the majority of their lives in the United States, and DACA is key in enabling these young people to do so. Cornejo cites a multitude of attacks on DACA by GOP members in her call to action. These attacks include Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s letter in late June of 2017 to the presidential administration asking for DACA to be rescinded by September of that year. In the letter, Attorney General Paxton threatens to pursue legal action if the stated demands are not met. Cornejo states in her article that nine attorney generals and one governor signed this letter.
Cornejo renews a call to action on behalf of DACA recipients in light of Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly’s announcement this week that the DACA program is, according to Cornejo’s article, “in jeopardy.” This was relayed by Kelly to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in early July of 2017 in a closed-door meeting. Cornejo cites major “clear benefits” of DACA, emphasizing that 95% of all beneficiaries of the program work, study, or do both. In addition, Cornejo highlights the benefits that recipients of DACA protections bring to the US economy, writing, “They contribute millions of dollars to colleges and universities nationwide. They have improved their earnings and pay higher taxes. Many of the economic gains made by DACA individuals are invested in advancing their education, buying homes and cars, and creating businesses.”
Indeed, this is a sentiment that has been echoed by many sources: DACA recipients have contributed positively to the US economy. Furthermore, the maintenance of many industries depends on their labor, which is copiously available due to the large number of undocumented immigrants who populate the workforce due to DACA. Cornejo urges readers to act quickly to protect undocumented youth and prevent DACA’s protections from being rescinded. She explains that without DACA not only would the US economy suffer, so would hundreds of thousands of young people.