Why we’re so divided on DACA

Today’s announcement by President Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been met with mixed reactions. Some are applauding Trump for his bravery and strong stance, while others criminalize his decision and call the move “heartless, and unfair”. I think it’s important that we take a step back from the emotions associated with the current president — on both sides of the aisle — and look at why we’re so split on this issue.

What Is Deferred Action?

DACA was proposed by President Obama in June of 2012 and soon after he signed the program into law without congressional approval. 5 years later nearly 90% of the 800,000 applications have been accepted for deferred action.

Illegal Immigrants who are protected under DACA are able to legally work in the United States with a work permit, obtain a drivers license, and are protected from deportation. They are not allowed to vote, they are not granted citizenship, and they are required to reapply every two years for continued deferral (after paying another $500 application fee).

Why the controversy?

If people protected under DACA aren’t granted citizenship, aren’t allowed to vote, and are required to meet strict eligibility requirements then why is this such a hot topic right now? It’s because we’re a nation divided by a two party system that pits us against each other.

When President Obama proposed DACA it was immediately met with opposition by GOP leaders, their argument was that it was a first step to across the board amnesty and didn’t fix the problem — they were partially correct. in 2014 Obama attempted to expand DACA to offer protection for parents of illegal immigrants but this was eventually struck down in court.

My resistance to DACA isn’t because of the people it aims to protect but rather the manner in which it was implemented. Politicians don’t want you to hear the other side, they try to keep your loyalty with fear and manipulation.

“DACA is unconstitutional, the DNC wants to rule without limits” — GOP
“DACA is constitutional, the GOP hates all illegals” — DNC

How do we come together?

It’s time we stop accepting what we’re told and start listening to each other with open hearts and minds. We won’t agree on everything and that’s OK. Let’s stop assuming that because someone is white, black, republican, or democrat we already know where they stand. What makes America special is that we can come from drastically different backgrounds and somehow still work together to solve problems.

DACA isn’t a long term solution, the problem can only be solved with a viable path to legal citizenship for eligible applicants. I don’t know what the perfect answer looks like, but let’s work through it together without the vitriol and prejudice so commonly attached to this subject — by both sides.