On Tuesday, President Donald Trump is expected to announce the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
Since former President Barack Obama implemented DACA in 2012, the United States has approved more than 800,000 work permits or visas to ‘dreamers,’ illegal immigrants who came to America before they were 16 years-old. But the number of dreamers who currently live and work in America is much higher. Trump has gone back and forth on whether to continue or end the program. On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump said that the program must end, but once in office, he walked back his stance saying that the DACA program is ‘very difficult’ for him because he loves kids and has young children and grandchildren.
In an interview with Red Alert Politics, Roy Beck, the founder of NumbersUSA, one of the largest grassroots immigration-reduction organizations, says American millennials are the ones who are getting hurt the most by DACA.
“There are 800,000 millennials from other countries who are competing legally in the workplace, for the same occupations where American millennials are competing,” Beck said.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are over 1,932,000 illegal immigrants who are DACA-eligible in the United States. The majority of dreamers, 81 percent, have been brought to America illegally from Mexico. The average age of an enrolled dreamer is 22 years-old. Beck warns millennials that these immigrants are the people that American millennials are competing with in both the workforce and college admissions.
“The fact is there are around 15 million American millennials not working right now, so this is a serious supply and demand proposition in terms of not only finding a job but also the wages that are paid once a person is in those jobs,” Beck says.
Beck is frustrated that the President hasn’t ended DACA like he said he would on the campaign trail, and would like to see him ‘put the American worker first.’ Even though the president campaigned to end DACA, for the past eight months he’s been in office he has continued to grant and renew dreamers permits.
“This is not good news for the American millennials who are having to compete with these folks, and in fact, he not only says he’ll issue DACA permits for another six months but says he hopes that Congress will pass an amnesty bill to give them permanent work permits,” Beck said.
Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted that is it time for congress to do its job, ‘DACA.’ White House sources have said that President Trump is considering giving Congress six months to create permanent legislation to continue DACA.
Beck cautions against Congress passing another amnesty bill, saying that all millennials, whether it be through college admissions, jobs, or wages, are in direct competition with illegal immigrants who have been granted these DACA permits.
“It’s the American millennials without a college degree, who have the highest unemployment rates, and most of these DACA recipients are competing in this same kind of jobs,” he said.
A Harvard University study found that about one-quarter of DACA beneficiaries have a college degree and 73 percent are living in low-income households that qualify for free school lunches, access to welfare, and other government-assisted programs at a cost to American taxpayers.When it comes to college enrollment, Beck says dreamers have an advantage over American applicants.
“Most of these DACA recipients will in all kinds of circumstances, will actually be moved towards the front of the line because they’ll qualify for affirmative action. So, any corporation, any university, any government entity that has affirmative action programs, most of these people will qualify to be moved ahead of the majority of Americans,” Beck said.
Affirmative action is a policy that mandates equal opportunities for, and often results in a larger presence of, minority groups in workplaces and universities. Dreamers with permits, qualify for affirmative action giving young immigrants a leg up over not just the skilled worker, but also the American college applicant.
“What’s happened over the last 30 years is corporations and other entities have used immigrants to fill Affirmative Action quotas, and that keeps from recruiting African Americans,” Beck continued. “Among all of the millennials, African American millennials will likely be hurt the most.”
Lately, the narrative on DACA has been driven by the stories of the outstanding citizens who have utilized the program. Beck acknowledges that there are many good people that use the program but suggest that all dreamers should have to apply for citizenship and shouldn’t just be granted a free pass based solely on if you have spent time in the United States illegally. He says this shows other countries that the United States rewards those who break the law.
An argument frequently made is that the United States is the only home these young immigrants know. Beck says, for some, that is true, but for the majority, they have spent many years in their respected countries and often go back and forth from the U.S. to their countries of origin.
His suggestion for addressing the program is first that the President end DACA, and go back to the processe that was used before the program was enacted. He urges Congress, when considering dreamers for permits and citizenship, to utilize the model that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has put forth, via the Raise Act, which mandates more rigorous requirements and vetting for immigrant applicants.
“Just because you’re 22 years-old and you’ve been in the country since you were 15 that doesn’t qualify you there has to be more to it than that,” Beck says instead of candidates feeling entitled to these permits, which he says is what’s beginning to happen, that the application approval process should be seen as an extreme honor,