Letter: Illinois residents and leaders should support legal status for DACA immigrants


To the Editor:

With President Trump rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Illinois residents and leaders should step up in defense of these young immigrants. DACA holders are law abiding residents who contribute to the U.S. society and economy. 

The fact that the U.S. is a nation of laws is often used to disregard DACA immigrants but it’s nonsensical to argue a child brought by his parents disregarded law and order. Not to mention, DACA beneficiaries had to pass strict background checks to keep their work permits.

In addition, it’s not a novel thing for Americans to support policies based on values. Just ask those opposing laws allowing abortion due to sincerely held beliefs.

Not punishing children for the mistake of their parents should be a core value of any country. 

Others argue DACA holders should move to the back of the line to gain lawful status. The truth is, it’s not nearly so simple.

Because many are now adults, they would face a 3- or 10-year bar from reentering the U.S. Not to mention all their connections, progress, friends, and family are in the U.S. They are American in every way but paper.

In addition, most bills being proposed do not give away citizenship. The main bill makes dreamers earn it by enrolling in college or the military and by waiting 13 years before being eligible for citizenship. 

Finally, it doesn’t make economic sense to not defend DACA. Economists argue DACA holders do not take jobs from Americans and that they give back greatly to the economy. These are the kinds of immigrants the U.S. should welcome because, to quote President Obama “to target hopeful young strivers who grew up here is wrong, because they’ve done nothing wrong.” 

Nicolas Fernandez, Joliet