The 750,000 beneficiaries of the DACA program are the least responsible for being undocumented, and the most exposed to deportation if president elect Donald Trump fulfills his promise of eliminating President Barack Obama’s executive action.
This is why the statesman should grant them a presidential pardon before leaving office.
The White House has so far been reluctant to offer the clemency because that would not help them get legal status – only Congress can do that. Nothing of the sort can be expected from the House of Representatives. Furthermore, the Republican majority has already voted several times to strip protections for those youngsters (Dreamers) who had been brought to the U.S. when they were children by their undocumented parents.
Now the urgency is not anymore on a path to legalization. It is about preventing their deportation, since the federal government has now all the information about how and where to find them. A pardon would absolve them from having broken the law by entering the country and residing here illegally. It could also exempt them from having to spend 10 years abroad if they leave the country to regularize their situation.
The deportation of those youths would be a monumental injustice because they have been raised, have studied and want to work in the United States. This is the only country to which they really belong, even if some have a cultural attachment to their parents’ homeland.
From a financial point of view, the American society invested money into the education of those who now aspire to have a professional career or serve in the military. Several studies have shown that the implementation of DACA gave Dreamers job opportunities that helped increase economic conditions around them.
Dreamers cannot be accused of depressing wages or being criminals. The rules state that one crime means the loss of protection from deportation.
A presidential pardon is not the ideal solution; it is an emergency act of which there is no precedent of being nullified by Congress or the courts. While it will possibly leave those youths in a legal limbo, the hope is that if they stay inside the U.S. they will have more chances of benefitting from a positive development down the road than being abroad.
President Obama already helped Dreamers four years ago. Now he has another opportunity before he leaves to prevent them from being deported. We hope he will do so.