“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!”
That question — asked so frequently in one form or another by Democrats, who see clear political advantages in legitimizing the blanket amnesty of 800,000 illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — was asked verbatim in a September tweet by Donald Trump. The president has been all over the map with respect to DACA, one minute hailing its virtues, the next calling it a recipe for disaster.
So which is it? Is DACA the unremitting blessing on the nation that Democrats make it out to be, or does the program threaten to be a burden on the country? By way of answering, let’s examine the traits in the Trump quote, and see how well each matches up with the known facts about DACA.
An article in today’s Washington Examiner by Sydney Jacobs notes that one group for whom DACA will be less than a blessing is U.S.-born millennials, especially when it comes to college:
DACA creates competition in the higher education system that inherently favors illegal immigrants through policies such as affirmative action. …
DACA recipients have seized on American millennials’ ability to receive financial aid and college scholarships in multiple states.
As Jacobs further notes, DACA also creates competition in the job market, with affirmative action once again giving DACA recipients an unfair advantage. Currently, over 10% of millennials are unemployed, a percentage that is likely to mushroom with an estimated 2.1 million DACA-eligible illegal immigrants already in the country. Unless the current administration pulls the plug on the program, as planned, unemployment numbers for millennials are going to reach unprecedented levels.
The program does provide an option for DACA recipients who want to join the U.S. military. That option became a reality in 2014 when the Obama Department of Defense unveiled a policy known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI, that admits immigrants without a proper visa if they came to the U.S. with their parents before age 16. It seemed like a great way of teaching values like teamwork and love of country.
So how many DACA recipients have availed themselves of that option? In fiscal year 2016, 359 enlisted in the Army, the only branch to accept immigrants of this category. By September of this year, a whopping 900 Dreamers had signed up for military service.
Another alleged positive of DACA that Democrats love to tout is the program’s tough stance on crime. Under the executive order signed by Obama, any immigrant with a criminal record will be deemed ineligible.
But before anyone starts popping corks over how safe DACA will make us as a nation, consider that nearly a third of recipients have lost their eligibility because they committed crimes or engaged in gang violence once in the program.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service:
The deferred action terminations were due to one or more of the following: a felony criminal conviction; a significant misdemeanor conviction; multiple misdemeanor convictions; gang affiliation; or arrest of any crime in which there is deemed to be a public safety concern. Most DACA terminations were based on the following infractions (not ranked): alien smuggling, assaultive offenses, domestic violence, drug offenses, DUI, larceny and thefts, criminal trespass and burglary, sexual offenses with minors, other sex offenses and weapons offenses.
According to Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies:
[These findings confirm] that the DACA screening process was woefully inadequate. The eligibility bar was set very low, explicitly allowing people with multiple misdemeanor and certain felony convictions to be approved. Only a handful of the applicants were ever interviewed, and only rarely was the information on the application ever verified.
Sure, there are “good, educated and accomplished young people” among the immigrants accepted into the program. But with all the other downsides of this amnesty, where is the logic in continuing it, at least in its current form?