Trump Could Revoke DACA, Satisfying Some And Worrying Others

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A pro-immigration activist holds a sign in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on April 18, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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President-elect Donald Trump pledged to immediately end President Barack Obama’s executive orders, which includes Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The controversial action, issued in 2012, established protections against deportation for immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.

DACA recipient Zuleima Dominguez, 23, is a student at Hunter College and member of Make the Road New York’s Youth Power Project, a community advocacy group. She came to the U.S. from Puebla, Mexico, when she was 7 years old and now worries about losing her protections.

But revoking DACA is necessary, according to some immigration skeptics, like Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian). He is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that favors tighter immigration controls.

Interview Highlights

Arguments Against DACA From Mark Krikorian

“It’s an illegal program. The president, simply, has no authority to grant benefits to millions of people. And that’s what this is, this isn’t just deferral of deportation. This is work permits, social security numbers, driver’s licenses, access to the earned income tax credit welfare program.”

“Congress — the Democratic Congress, in 2010 — specifically failed to pass the legislation called the Dream Act, that this executive action was based on. And the president said, ‘Well, I’m just gonna do it myself.’ And so the second of the two questions is relevant here, and that is how will it be ended? Will it be sort of a big bang where Trump, on Jan. 20, says all of this is turned into a pumpkin and you guys are all illegal aliens again? Or, will he stop the program, no new grants of DACA, no renewals, but everybody who has it, it will be allowed to kind of run its course, and then it will end?”

“Really, all the economic arguments for DACA aren’t really all that salient because 750,000 people in an economy, in a nation of 320 million people doesn’t really have any meaningful effect on the economy. I just don’t buy that.”

“First of all, it’s not like there’s ICE people coming to their door at 9 a.m. the next morning. … The fact is, they’ve got names and addresses on lots of criminal aliens who are in jail, people that were let go — I mean, I’m not saying that they’re not deportable. I’m just saying, as a practical matter, you know, it’s not like you really need to build a cubbyhole in your garage to hide in. That’s the first point.”

“I actually accept the argument, broadly speaking, that illegal immigrants who came here as young children — not 15-year-olds, some of them actually came on their own — I’m talking about kids who actually spent most of their childhoods in the United States, before age 7 or 10, something like that. Giving those kids amnesty is a good idea. I’m actually for that as part of a package in Congress that includes enforcement trade-offs, things like that. But Congress has not passed that. There’s all kinds of things that I think are good policy that I don’t just get to do if I’m president.”

Arguments For DACA From Zuleima Dominguez

“DACA, first of all, it provided me a better job where, with my salary, I could be able to help my family, and second, to continue with my education, which was the main idea. Because with DACA I was able to apply for a social security card, and with a social security number, you can apply for scholarships and continue with your education.”

“I can’t blame my parents for wanting to try to have a better future. However, government always tries to play with our lives, where Republicans say ‘We’re gonna deport 11 million,’ or the Democratic party deports 2 to 3 million during the Obama administration. I think that’s what Donald Trump wants to repeat, and what this politician doesn’t see is that they’re tearing apart families that are contributing to this country by calling them criminals.”

“It would be much harder [without DAC] than what it is now, but I’ve been living without DACA for almost 11,12 years of my life. It doesn’t mean that DACA would stop everything. We will continue fighting for reform for everyone.”

“I have nowhere to leave. I found this country as my country. I grew up in here. I graduated from elementary school all the way to high school, and I finished my associate degree in community college, now I’m in a four-year college. So, I found this as my country, I’ve been contributing. I just need one chance from all these politicians and for them to stop playing with my life and my future.”

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