On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama created a new policy by executive order, it called for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children. Applications under the program which is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) was fully implemented on August 15, 2012.
This program had been soundly rejected by both congress, (who by the way are actually the only ones who can legally implement this type of program) and the American voter. As was his habit when he did not get what he wanted, Obama simply did an end run around congress with an illegal (unconstitutional) executive order. At that time congress should have acted, and knocked him off his pedestal by nullifying that order immediately. They did not do this however, and that inaction has led us to where we are now 5 years later, with a new president, Donald Trump. Now, he has to unravel this disaster and decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of people brought here illegally by their parents. He has to decide what is going to be in their best interest on a humanitarian level, as well as what is best for the American public. I do not envy this man one bit here.
Now, I could spend tons of time rehashing the past, assigning blame, or arguing out the talking points that both the far right, and far left have on this issue, but what exactly would that accomplish? Not much.
Because in the grand scope of things all of that is pretty much irrelevant. Sure, the policy that caused all of this was illegal, therefore in actuality all of these DACA recipients are here illegally, and need to be deported en masse. Seems pretty straight forward right? We just enforce the law, kick around 800,000 people out of our country.
Well, its only that simple if that is as far as anyone thinks about it. Categorically deporting these people would (not could) have some very serious consequences for our country that it seems to me, a lot of people are either ignoring, or are unaware of. Lets take a look at the biggest issue this would cause.
Impact on the economy:
According to this 2017 survey by Tom K. Wong (UCSD), 92-94% of DACA recipients surveyed were employed. Another study from 2016, by the Immigration Legal Resource center (ilrc) places that percentage at 87%. So out of the 741,546 individuals granted DACA status through 2016. 645,145 of those people were employed at the time. Now many people are going to start screaming about "those jobs belong to Americans", well yeah maybe. At the current time, there are no concrete FACTS, to back up the claim of detrimental effects this program has had on the American worker, until there are, I consider it a non issue. We need to deal with things as they are, not how we think they should be.
These studies show that the majority of DACA recipients are not sitting around drawing welfare while we the American citizens foot the bill. For one thing, DACA recipients ARE NOT ELIGIBLE for most federal welfare programs. Any of these programs they receive are strictly on the state level, such as food stamps. Does it happen, of course, the system is not perfect, and since the states receive large amounts of funding from the federal government, it stands to reason some of that money is making it into the pockets of illegals. There is not really anything anyone can do about that because each state has a constitutional right to decide its own laws, as long as those laws do not violate federal law. That's a whole can of worms for another time though.
So we have established that the majority of DACA recipients are employed. That means they are paying taxes (they have to in order to remain on the program). According to the CATO institute, deporting all DACA recipients would result in a $280 billion loss of revenue over the first decade. That's not chump change people, and it would go bye bye in an instant if all of the DACA recipients were deported. That would result in an estimated drop of about 1.4% of our national GDP. In case you are not up on economics, that would be very, very bad. And that's just the federal government. Here is a table by CAP that estimates the GDP impact by state.
I did not add all of these up (feel free to do so) because its obvious to me that this is one hell of a lot of money that would cease to be added to our economy every year. This should be enough to at least make people think a little more about this issue. But we will continue.
Aside from the lost revenue, it would cost us a monumental amount of money on top of that, just to deport them. The average cost of arresting, detaining, and deporting one person from the U.S. is estimated at $12,500 according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deputy director Kumar Kibble. 12,500 x 800,000= $10,000,000,000.
If we figure the numbers for all 11 odd million illegals that cost jumps up to around $140,000,000,000. The lost revenue from taxes would increase to an annual loss of almost $500,000,000,000, bringing the drop in GDP up exponentially.
One thing else to notice about this chart, is the number of recipients, vs the number of working recipients, in each state. It backs up the claim that over 90% of DACA recipients are employed, paying taxes, and contributing to our country's economy.
Think about it like this. President Trump has managed to get our economy to its strongest point in over 16 years. If we had to absorb the loss in revenue, in addition to the resulting drop in GDP, and the cost of deportation, it would probably put us right back where we started, if not even worse off.
The next obvious argument would of course be, "well, Americans will fill those jobs". Not necessarily. Because here again, there are a whole lot of other factors involved with that happening. Primarily this one. It costs a lot of money to hire and train new employees. Because of this many of these employers will simply place a qualified existing employee into that position to avoid the expense. That means a large number of these jobs will not be filled by new hires, the loss of revenue never gets adjusted, unemployment rate remains the same, the economy stagnates. Again.
Have you ever heard the phrase "cutting off your nose to spite your face"?
Many Americans are understandably, very pissed off about this issue. This leads to resentment, which results in a need for retribution. Unfortunately, this "gonna get what's coming to you" attitude can make it very difficult for people (society) to see things objectively. The resulting decisions they make are often very self-destructive. Even more unfortunate is the fact that once they realize their error, its usually too late to do anything about it.
If you really think about it, is this type of decision making not a major reason our country is in the mess it is today?
No matter what side of this issue you stand on, does it really make any sense to use the same decision making methodology, as a way to fix the problems it created in the first place?
Nietzsche, F. W., & Kaufmann, W. (1967). On the genealogy of morals. New York: Vintage Books.
Galezewski, J. (2013). Beyond vengeance and retribution: a reasoned approach to unreasonable behavior. Indianapolis, IN: Dog Ear.
Grohol, J. (2009). Revenge: The Psychology of Retribution. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 8, 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/06/04/revenge-the-psychology-of-retribution/