Quora: Why Are People Mad About DACA?

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program supporters rally at Los Angeles City Hall on September 5. Kyle Grillot/Reuters

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Answer from Charlotte Lang:

Why is there so much upheaval over DACA? Because it reflects two things:

It exposes our messed up immigration policy. Immigration has been an open sore in American politics for a long time—anyone with an Irish, Italian, Polish, Chinese, Japanese background can attest to how their ancestors were treated when they first migrated to America. America cannot bring itself to admit two things about immigration: that our economy is supported by legal and illegal immigration, and that these illegal immigrants take jobs for the most part that Americans won't take. Because of this and, yes, racism (when I see immigration discussions talk about the problems British and Canadian illegals pose to the nation, when we champion a wall on the Canadian border, and when we institute a ban against European countries, then I'll believe you when you say it isn't about racism), our policy has been inconsistent, full of holes, and discussions about immigration have been riddled with lies and misinformation about these people. We seesaw between amnesty policies, and raiding businesses and mass deportations.

One of the results of all this confusion and stupidity are these dreamers—kids who were brought here by their parents as small children and essentially were raised here as Americans. They know no other country—dumping them in Mexico or El Salvador would be like taking an American citizen and dumping them there. They know nothing about the country that they came from, may not be able to speak the language (although in my experience, kids of immigrants are typically bilingual) and in some cases, doing this could be dangerous, as some of them had parents that came here because they were fleeing a dangerous situation. They could be returning to a dangerous situation without the means or know-how to navigate around it.

If and when it is recognized/admitted that immigration is a benefit, then legislation can actually pass that will reduce illegal immigration by providing a path for workers who want to work here can take. But as long as you have political leaders demonizing illegal immigrants and lying about their role in this society, that will not happen, and Trump's comments about Mexico and Mexicans in particular has inflamed bigotry against them among a sizable portion of the country.

The inability of Congress to act. One of the reasons Obama did what he did was that Obama knew the Republican Congress wouldn't work with him to get anything passed. Anyone who was an adult without frontal lobe damage during the Obama era remembers that Congress was one of the most obstinate Congresses a President ever had to face—and Obama did what he felt he had the power to do to help these kids stuck in a no-mans-land of immigration policy. Anyone expecting a Congress run by a man who set up a meeting with fellow party members on Obama's inauguration night plotting how to block everything he does to make him look bad is whistling past a graveyard. This is a leader who cannot be trusted to do anything to solve the problem.

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Quora: Why Are People Mad About DACA? | Opinion