One of President Trump’s more popular items on his agenda was his plan to be ‘tougher on immigration’. He infamously stated that he planned to not only build a wall along the United States and Mexico border, but make Mexico pay for it. While he has made minimal progress in building this wall, he has continued to be incredibly discriminatory towards immigrants.
Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been under fire since President Trump first stepped into office. They have detained illegal immigrants in inhumane ways, most notably separating parents and their children, and putting them in what could be easily mistaken for cages. Although this is not making headlines at the moment, this is still an enormous issue and a blatant violation of human rights. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called it “inconceivable that those who seek to provide such support would risk facing criminal charges.” On the first day of school in 2019, 680 undocumented workers were arrested. During these raids, the children remained alone. The cruel ways in which ICE detains these migrants has been repeatedly called unconstitutional, and rightfully so. In light of this matter, many political figures on both sides of the spectrum have demanded change. In spite of the countless protests, Trump is proposing the same process with children in America on a student or work visa.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an immigration program that allows children from other countries to enter the United States in order to study and work. The idea floated around Congress but was set in stone in 2012, under President Obama. As of March 2020, almost 700,000 recipients utilize the DACA program.
Since becoming President, the Trump administration has repeatedly attempted to shut down DACA. In 2018, Trump’s former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced that they were putting an end to the DACA program. Sessions’ argued that DACA was not beneficial to America’s economy, and that participants were barely working. However, Sessions' argument completely contrasts from the reality of the matter. In 2017 alone, DACA recipients paid the US government $4 billion in taxes, with 93% of them working, if not in school. President Trump also tweeted that these recipients are “very tough, hardened criminals’, yet there is no indication of truth behind this exceedingly discriminatory statement. In addition, if the United States were to deport DACA recipients, the U.S. Economic Growth could shrink by $280 billion.
Trump tried to end DACA again earlier this year, however multiple lawsuits and a rejection from the Supreme Court stopped him. Now, amidst a pandemic, Trump has ordered the shutdown of DACA and rejection of all potential applicants for the year. The idea is that this will buy him enough time to find an alternative way to bypass the Supreme Court, eventually ending the program.
The United States has been considered the “land of the free” and the ‘greatest country in the world’. The truth is that DACA recipients make this country what it is. They are hardworking people who have left everything behind in hope of a better future. If Trump were to cut DACA, thousands of children who have sacrificed their lives to the hope that this country provides would be kicked to the curb.
“UN Rights Chief 'Appalled' by US Border Detention Conditions, Says Holding Migrant Children May Violate International Law | | UN News.” United Nations, United Nations, 8 July 2019, news.un.org/en/story/2019/07/1041991.
Sanchez, Ray. “Their First Day of School Turned into a Nightmare after Record Immigration Raids.” CNN, Cable News Network, www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/08/us/mississippi-ice-raids-cnnphotos/index.html.