As a student of history, I believe one of the things that makes our country so great is that we are the great melting pot of the world. Unless you are a Native American, all of our families have come here as immigrants. DACA is a program which protects immigrants who were brought to this country illegally as youngsters through no fault, or choice, of their own and have lived here ever since.
Since 2012, the program has enabled about 700,000 youthful immigrants -- often called DREAMers -- to obtain drivers’ licenses and work permits, go to school, join the military and contribute both their energy and their taxes to their adopted country. A path to citizenship for these kids is both the morally right decision and a part of immigration reform that has been a great success story. Therefore my support of DACA is a no-brainer.
However, I believe for many, DACA is part of bigger issues such as immigration reform, and border protection and safety. Tying DACA to a ridiculous wall is just cruel. Do we have immigration issues and border protection issues in our country? Absolutely. However, the most reliable estimates on the cost of a Southern border wall, according to Political Fact Check, puts the cost at 21.5 billion dollars as stated by the Department of Homeland Security. 21.5 billion which the American people will be paying, not Mexico.
If we are going to use 21.5 billion dollars of American tax paying dollars for border protection, I say we use it to look at real immigration reform. Sixty-six percent of all illegal immigrants do not come to our country illegally but overstay legal visas. Sure, I believe we need to beef-up border protection and I would agree to use a portion of that 21.5 billion dollars for that reason. More importantly, I believe giving the State Department the resources they need to do their jobs by minimizing high risk applicants from entering the country in the first place, or by doing a better job of tracking people that overstay their visas, are far more important to me in securing our border safety.
The new in vogue Republican talking point is to say that not every DREAMer is a straight “A” student; some are lazy, some are still struggling to realize the American dream. Of course it should be expected that there would be a wide spectrum of experiences among DREAMers as in any random group of people. However, our president would rather conjure up images of MS13 as a not-so-subtle image of fear in his State of the Union address, rather than the image of a DREAMer who fought for our country without having full citizenship. If you want both sides of the aisle to stand up, stop trying to rule by fear!
Holding DACA hostage in order to keep a campaign promise for a wall that most agree wouldn’t serve its stated purpose is short sighted, and bad politics. Besides, why would we want to use 15th century technology to solve a 21st century problem?