The decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by the Trump administration has been described as too harsh and unfair by BYU-Hawaii students, who said it’s not the fault of the recipients for being raised here.
Ethan Lee, a freshman from Idaho with an undecided major, said, “I think ending DACA is kind of useless because it’s unfair to those who have been already promised to this. You cannot just break a promise just by changing the presidency.”
Erica Greer, a junior exercise and sports science major from Washington, D.C., said she has been “neutral” in political viewpoints. She said, “I think there are fair arguments on both sides. As far as I know, I don’t think it’s good to remove DACA, just because those children are going to come to the country, they didn't have the [choice] of coming to the country with their family as young children.”
Created by President Obama in 2012, DACA allowed 800,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. at a young age to stay in the country. However, young immigrants already enrolled in DACA will remain protected until their permits expire. The Justice Department announced on Sept. 5 the decision to end the executive program, and the Trump administration is allocating a 6-month delay for Congress to possibly save the policy, according to NBC News.
As someone who has friends who were born to parents having come to the U.S. illegally, Greer said, “No consequence should come to them for being [brought to] the U.S.”
Steve Revillo, a sophomore from the Philippines studying accounting, said, “It’s unethical to give immigrants a hard time in the middle of their lives when they are trying to build up their life.” However, he said he understands how the government wants to keep immigration in order.”
President Trump told NBC News this was “in the best interests of our country” for starting this “orderly transition.”
Greer said she thinks Trump is doing what he has promised to the U.S. and its citizens, but he could “add more kindness or leniency dealing with DACA.”
This decision was brought about because of the pressure President Trump felt from several states that threatened to sue his administration unless the DACA program was cancelled.
White House officials argue the executive order Obama issued that created the program was unconstitutional, and Congress should take charge of legislation dealing with the issue. Congress officials said the program was on shaky legal ground and would not have survived legal challenges in the courts.
Immigrant advocates, clergy and business leaders, including the chief executives of Apple and Microsoft, put intense pressure on Trump to maintain the program, but he decided to end it.
DACA was created after pressure from immigrant advocates who wanted protections for the young immigrants who lacked legal status but were raised in the U.S. The program grants a two-year reprieve that can be extended by issuing a work permit and a Social Security number.
DACA recipients must meet several requirements including having no criminal record. Immigrants who are accepted into the program and later get arrested face deportation to their home country.
DACA does not give beneficiaries legal U.S. residency; they are given a reprieve from deportation while being allowed to legally work. The overwhelming majority of DACA recipients are from Mexico. One in four of them live in California.
If their permits expire before March 5, 2018, they are eligible to renew them for another two years as long as they apply by Oct. 5. If their permits expire beyond that March date, they will not be able to renew and could be subject to deportation when their permits expire.