This week the Trump administration announced they would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (“DACA”), putting over 800,000 young people at risk of deportation. We believe this is bad for Quincy, and bad for America. It is time for Quincy Democrats and all Quincy residents who care about the wellbeing and security of our neighbors to stand up and protect this vulnerable community.
DACA, which was started by the Obama administration in 2012, permits a form of legal recognition for “Dreamers”, undocumented persons brought to the United States as children younger than 16 in or by June, 2007, who were also under 30 when the program began in 2012 and meet other qualifications such as criminal background checks. DACA does not permit Dreamers to become citizens directly, but it does allow them to defer obtaining immediate legal status for a two year period while they do things such as pay taxes, work legally, go to college, and seek medical treatment under their own name, without fear of deportation. Over 800,000 individuals have come forward under this program, and unless Congress acts to protect them, they will face deportation at various times within the next two years.
Terminating DACA is morally wrong. It would result in deporting young people who consider themselves “Americans”. Many dreamers have no memory of any home other than the home they know in America. They have spent all or part of their childhood here, know American customs, live American lives. They are Americans who, as President Obama notes, “have done nothing wrong;” they were just brought to America as children with their parents or guardians. They contribute to society and pass criminal background checks.
Terminating DACA is financially foolish. Dreamers contribute to our economy by working and paying taxes. Between the cost of deportations, lost tax revenue and lost fees from this program, it is expected that terminating this program will cost the United States over $400 billion over the next decade (www.cnn.com/2017/09/04/politics/daca-dreamers-immigration-program/index.html).
Terminating DACA will be bad for Quincy and for Massachusetts. Quincy has long been a city of immigrants, and we are the better for it. Irish, Italian, Asian, Portuguese, and countless other immigrants have made Quincy home, and we all benefit from the cultural exchange. The Boston Globe estimates that 8,000 Dreamers live in Massachusetts. Their tax dollars boost our economy, their social security contributions help our seniors, their labor contributes towards our communities, and their service to our country makes us more secure.
President Trump has given Congress six months to reverse this cruel and dehumanizing decision. Between now and then we must take action to ensure that these innocent and law-abiding Americans -- who are our neighbors, our friends, and our family -- are protected from an act of capricious malice that would send them to countries where many of them have never been, do not know anyone or even know the language. Trump’s decision affects each and every one of us, even if we are not at risk of deportation. Dreamers are an integral part of what makes Quincy a thriving and diverse community, and our city -- and our country -- will be worse off without them.
We can do our part to help our young Dreamers. Here are a few things you can do:
-Call your senators and representatives and ask them to speak out against the termination of DACA if they haven’t already. Also, ask them to support and co-sponsor the bipartisan DREAM Act in Congress. Senator Markey can be reached at 202-224-2742. Senator Warren can be reached at 202-224-4543. Congressman Lynch can be reached at 202-225-8273.
-Voice your support for these young people by keeping this dialogue going online and in person.
-Attend the “Resist Deportations and Defend DACA” rally and march on Boston Common, September 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm.
-Support organizations such as the MIRA Coalition which help refugees and immigrants in Massachusetts