Resolving DACA: The Costs of Bargaining over Immigrants' Lives?


They include teachers, software engineers, tradespersons, medical professionals, and workers from a host of other industries. Commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” these roughly 800,000 immigrants fully integrated into American life, building a future that each generation strives to make better. Yet they live in daily uncertainty and constant fear of deportation. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials target them at their homes, schools and/or workplaces.

Unless the federal government extends the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2012, Dreamers’ days in the U.S. are numbered. The order lasted for five years. It was a temporary solution to bring the children of undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and lead them on a path to permanent residency and citizenship through the Dream Act… which was never passed.

Dreamers were under age 16 when their parents illegally brought them into the United States from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and other nations. Through DACA, they could obtain temporary social security numbers, driver’s licenses and renewable work permits, allowing them to secure jobs, pay income tax, apply for loans and get financial aid for college – the building blocks for making the American Dream a reality.