The announcement of President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and punting it to Congress to fix within a six-month window has already set off a wave of melodrama and discord by both sides of the political spectrum. The two main arguments in favor of keeping DACA were avoiding the immediate loss of 800,000 jobs at an estimated cost to the economy of nearly $500 billion, and that it is unfair to punish the so-called Dreamers, who were children when they were brought into this country illegally, for the crimes of their parents.
MNUCHIN NOT WORRIED ABOUT FINANCIAL FALLOUT
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Chris Wallace, host of FOX News Sunday, that he was not worried about any financial fallout related to ending DACA, despite reports warning of a high price tag for deportation of the Dreamers. Mnuchin doesn’t buy the excessive number; he calls it a product of those who want to elicit the “it’s too costly” response. The exorbitant dollar amount quoted is an absolute value that doesn’t represent all factors. An accurate calculation of the impact of ending the program should take into account the amount currently being spent to provide benefits to approximately one million participants of DACA. That’s millions of dollars of government benefits saved.
PRIORITY IS PUTTING PEOPLE BACK TO WORK
Mnuchin also said, “the Trump administration recognized DACA was a ‘complicated issue,’ but the priority is putting people back to work.” Maybe he should have clarified that statement by saying putting “American citizens” back to work. Even the extreme of vacating 800,000 jobs at one-time – which simply will not happen, as the program won’t end all at once – raises the question “what is the downside of having more jobs available than workers?” From an economic standpoint, it could result in more competition for labor and possibly lead to increased wages and benefits. Employers would need to fight to land the best applicants, and that would be welcomed news to the hundreds of thousands of currently unemployed or underemployed graduates.
President Trump was pushed into a corner with a threat of legal action by several states attorneys if he did not denounce the program by today. Both sides were pulling him in opposite directions, and there was no doubt he would take extreme heat no matter what he decided. His staunch immigration supporters wanted President Trump to end the program once and for all by executive action, much as it was instituted by President Obama. On the other end of the spectrum, Democrats are already branding him as evil and heartless, painting the picture to the American people of children being torn from their parent’s arms by ICE as the mass deportation takes place. CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page the action of ending DACA is “cruel” and “a sad day for our country.”
DACA IS THE APEX OF NON-ENFORCEMENT AND ENCOURAGES ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
DACA is another swamp mess left over from many years of our government’s failure to faithfully enforce immigration laws. It is the apex of non-enforcement and encourages illegal immigration. It protects them from deportation and provides benefits that by law are reserved for American citizens and legal immigrants. Ultimately, without a crystal ball to tell us what will happen over the next six months and how today’s decision to end DACA will impact the economy, we have no other option but to wait and see.