DACA and America's Immigration Policy Reform

On June 15, 2012, President Obama announced the policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to enable individuals brought to the US as children to obtain a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit (but no path to citizenship). The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), proposed for a process to grant residency and subsequently naturalized status to qualifying immigrants who entered the United States as minors. The bill was first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001, and has since been filibustered several times and failed to pass. In 2017, President Trump announced a plan to phase out DACA but such implementation was put on hold for six months to allow Congress time to pass the Dream Act or some other legislative protection for Dreamers. Congress failed to act and the time extension expired on March 5, 2018. The phase-out of DACA has been put on hold by several courts. A Supreme Court decision on the matter was not expected until 2020.

Now the Supreme Court will hear Trump’s case to terminate DACA on Tuesday November 12, 2019. After years of uncertainty and political stalemates, this is a crucial moment for Dreamers and the DACA program that protects them. If justices uphold the administration's decision to end the program, those who were shielded by DACA for years could lose their work permits and become vulnerable to deportation. The implication of such decision not only involves Dreamers’ fate -- it will indicate that it will be deemed unlawful for future administrations to implement such policies to filter or prioritize which groups of unlawful immigrants to deport or to allow for path to naturalization.

Research shows that DACA increased the wages and employment status of DACA-eligible immigrants, and improved lives for DACA participants and their children. Research also suggests it reduced the number of undocumented immigrant households living in poverty. "This is inarguably the most successful immigration policy," said Harvard professor Roberto Gonzales. His study finds that DACA has provided many long-term benefits to the more than 700,000 young immigrant adults, consequently fueling the nation's workforce and contributing to the economy. Many will agree with Professor Gonzales and recognize DACA as consequential, and economically beneficial. David J. Skorton, a cardiologist and president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, claims that ending DACA will harm America’s health, since the country relies on DACA immigrants for a pool of medical or health professionals. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook says in a brief that his company employs hundreds of recipients of DACA and that DREAMERS “embody Apple’s innovation strategy.” Cook defends DACA wholeheartedly.

While "DACA has been overwhelmingly successful, it is a partial solution," said Professor Gonzales. "Ultimately, DACA is an administrative policy that in nature is temporary." To preserve the protections in place for contributing immigrants, it is imperative to pass much needed policies that extend paths to naturalization. After all, the Trump administration and many DACA supporters agree that Congress could pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes Dreamer protections, and their rectified channels of lawfulness.


2012年6月15日,奥巴马总统宣布了 DACA 的政策,目的乃为促使幼时被带到美国的移民得以申请可延期的两年免遣返出境证明,并有资格获得工作许可(但没有获得公民身份的途径)。 《 DREAM法案》提出了向幼时进入美国的合格移民授予居留权和随后之公民身份的程序。该法案于2001年8月1日在参议院首次提出,此后多次遭到挫败,未能通过。 2017年,川普总统宣布了一项逐步淘汰DACA的计划,但这项计划的实施被搁置了六个月,以便国会有时间通过​​《DREAM法案》或其他针对DREAER的立法保护措施。国会未能采取行动,延至2018年3月5日仍然未解。DACA的淘汰受数个法院裁停。预计到2020年才会由最高法院对此事做出决定。


研究表明,DACA提高了符合DACA资格的移民的工资和就业状况,并改善了DACA参与者及其子女的生活。研究还表明,DACA减少了生活在贫困中的无证移民家庭的数量。哈佛大学教授罗伯托·冈萨雷斯说:“这无疑是最成功的移民政策。”他的研究发现,DACA为700,000多名年轻移民提供了许多长期利益,从而致力于美国的劳动市场并为其经济做出了贡献。许多人会同意冈萨雷斯(Gonzales)教授的观点,并认为DACA是必然的,并且具有经济效益。美国医学院成员协会的心脏病专家兼主席和首席执行官大卫·斯科顿(David J. Skorton)声称,结束DACA会损害美国的健康,因为该国依赖DACA移民来吸引大量医疗或卫生专业人员。苹果首席执行官蒂姆·库克(Tim Cook)也发文表示,他的公司雇用了数百名DACA接收者,而DREAMERS也“体现了苹果的创新战略。”库克全心全意为DACA辩护。

冈萨雷斯教授说:“虽然DACA取得了压倒性的成功,但这只是部分解决方案。” “最终,DACA是一项行政政策,本质上是暂时的。”为了持续保护对国家有贡献的移民,政府必须通过迫切需要的政策来扩展入籍途径。毕竟,川普政府和许多DACA支持者都同意,国会可以通过一项全面的移民改革法案,包括对DREAMERS的保护以及其合法的归正途径。