Statement on DACA
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been a source of opportunity for illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors to apply for renewable two-year deferrals of deportation as they pursue citizenship. It has also been an opportunity for our nation to provide qualifying individuals, who have in many cases become naturalized in all but the legal sense, a mechanism to stay in the country that has become their home.
The nearly 800,000 individuals currently registered under DACA have been rigorously vetted; they must have arrived in the U.S. before reaching the age of 16; they must be enrolled in or have completed high school; and they may not have been convicted of a serious crime or deemed a threat to public safety or national security.
Ending this program is bad business. Since 2012, DACA has made it possible for these qualifying individuals to receive work permits. The CATO institute reports that the cessation of this program will lead to a loss of economic growth of $280 billion in the next ten years, which includes $60 billion in lost tax revenue.
These aspiring young people are contributing to the workplace, in our university classrooms, and in the U.S. military. We need to celebrate these strivers, not end a program so filled with the hope and opportunity that has been at the center of our national identity for centuries. There is no more emblematic constituency of the American Dream. These young men and women are feverishly striving to make America great and to keep it their home.
On our campus, we proudly display multi-lingual banners that proclaim, “No matter where you are from, we are glad that you are our neighbor.” Let us continue to love our neighbors as ourselves by sustaining our commitment to those who have been protected by DACA for the past five years.
I encourage all members of the Susquehanna community and our neighbors and friends to advocate for these young people and to lobby their elected officials to continue their legal protections.