La Opinión: DACA Is Good for Everybody

La Opinión: DACA Is Good for Everybody

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The third anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is bittersweet. On the one hand, DACA improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of undocumented people brought into the U.S. by their parents by protecting them from deportation. On the other hand, it is only a temporary measure, and is deeply resented by a House of Representatives that has repeatedly voted to eliminate it.

This date is a prime target for manipulation. It gives some a chance to be hypocritical and blame President Obama for the shortcomings of an immigration reform program that did not go through Congress. They don't acknowledge that these failures are really due to the fact that both Republican-led legislative bodies are dominated by the strongest opponents to comprehensive reform.

Immigration is such a complex topic for Republicans that they haven't been able to devise a strategy to deal in a realistic and positive way with the multiple security, economic and humanitarian aspects of reform. Anyone who says the opposite is lying. Again and again, the House votes against DACA and debate transcripts reveal the prevailing animosity directed toward immigrants.

This is why executive actions became necessary. The three-year-old measure benefited over three million young people as well as the country as a whole. A comprehensive study conducted by Harvard sociologist Roberto González shows that 60 percent of DACA recipients have gotten jobs since they became protected from deportation. Of those, 45 percent said that their incomes have increased. New jobs and higher incomes translate into a larger tax base and a boost for the economy.

Still, these facts haven't changed the predominant notion among Republican that every undocumented person is a bad person. That's why they are trying to stop all attempts to expand DACA and to launch protections for another group of immigrants through Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). Republicans want to convince everyone that the problem is in the executive action when their real conflict is more about content than form.

We want comprehensive reform, and if Congress doesn't change, we must continue to extend DACA. In the next election, theoretical support will not matter as much as preventing the deportation of those who are protected today.

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