DACA and the “Dreamers” are a serious and important problem.
DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” which refers to the young children of persons who deliberately entered the country illegally years ago. Their kids had no choice in the matter, and because they had no choice but to accompany their parents on their illegal entry, they should be treated differently than other illegal aliens. Therefore, many believe that since they now have no memory of living in another country with a different culture and different language, deportation would be cruel and unfair.
The large group called “Dreamers,” however, is not part of the DACA program, but is made up of illegal aliens who also are looked upon with a high degree of sympathy by many. Some believe that both groups should not be deported, but given amnesty, citizenship, or a path to citizenship. Along with that sentiment is the idea that these are all good, innocent people merely wanting a good life, despite their illegal status.
That is a compassionate view, and America is the most compassionate country on Earth.
But we have to approach solving the DACA/Dreamer situation with our eyes wide open; we must neither assume the worst nor the best about these people, but we must learn as much as possible about each one in determining what to do with them.
How many aliens does the “DACA” program include? Kerwin and Warren’s “Potential Beneficiaries” cites the following: Although 800,000 illegal aliens originally received benefits under the DACA program, that number was down to 690,000 by September 5, 2017, when the Trump Administration was ending DACA. Add to that number those who were originally eligible for the DACA program and the “Dreamers,” and the number approaches 4 million.
Are all of these people just wonderful folks who want nothing more than a good life in America? Let’s look at those in the DACA program. They were required to (1) enroll in school, graduate from high school, obtain a GED certificate, or receive an honorable discharge from the military; (2) have no conviction for a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors; and (3) not pose a threat to national security or public safety, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
How did that work out? Well, Steven Camarota on National Review Online reported that despite the majority being adults, only 49 percent of DACA recipients had attained a high school diploma as required.
What about speaking English, the dominant, if not official, language of the U.S., and an important element in earning a high school diploma and functioning in our society?
A test given to determine the level of English fluency showed that of those making up 80 to 90 percent of DACA recipients, 44 percent who said they spoke English “well” or “very well,” actually scored “below basic,” which is at or near functional illiteracy. These results led the USCIS to conclude, “perhaps 24 percent of the DACA-eligible population fall into the functionally illiterate category, and another 46 percent have only ‘basic’ English ability.” So, two out of three have a language problem.
How about criminal activity? Last February DHS reported that 1,500 DACA beneficiaries had their eligibility terminated due to a criminal conviction, gang affiliation, or a criminal conviction related to gang affiliation, and by August the number had risen to 2,139. That is not a high percentage, but how many other lawbreakers haven’t been discovered, and how many lawbreakers are an acceptable number?
This data signals that the screening process was, to understate the situation, inadequate, and according to Jessica M. Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, apparently, “only a handful of the applicants were ever interviewed, and only rarely was the information on the application ever verified.”
Plainly, quite a large number of DACA aliens haven’t tried very hard to meet the requirements of the program. It is therefore appropriate to wonder if they are really interested in becoming productive citizens of our country.
The Dreamers, who because of their trying to avoid discovery, were not subject to the requirements of DACA, so it is a safe bet that fewer of them speak English fluently, and some of them are most certainly involved in criminal activity.
The DACA and Dreamers situation indicates the abject foolishness of lax border control and monitoring of persons in the country on a visa. Immigration is far too important to be handled as badly as it has been for the last number of years. Had our government followed its own rules, we would most likely have a minor problem instead of this monumental one.
Any DACA beneficiary or illegal alien whose good character and behavior cannot be absolutely verified should not be allowed to remain in the country, and certainly not be put on a path to citizenship.
Immigration is a mechanism to bring in, or allow in, people from other countries that offer positive value to the United States. America has no obligation to accept immigrants at all, but it does have a solemn duty to accept only legal immigrants whose presence will benefit the country and its citizens.