September 12. 2017 12:32AM
To the Editor: Not welcoming participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to stay in this country is a mistake. Moral and humanitarian considerations aside, criteria for Dreamers, beneficiaries of DACA, make them a select, desirable group.
Participants must be currently in school, have graduated from high school, or be serving in or honorably discharged from the military.
They cannot have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three other misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security.
This describes the people most of us would like to have move in next door: self-supporting, keep-your-nose-clean kind of folks.
It should also be noted that DACA does not provide lawful status or a path to citizenship, or eligibility for federal welfare or student aid.
DACA recipients aren’t here at taxpayers’ expense, but it’s costly to force them out. During fiscal 2016, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency) spent $3.2 billion to identify, arrest, detain, and remove roughly 240,000 undocumented immigrants, at an average cost of $10,854 per deportation.
Spent differently, $3.2 billion could provide a lot of college scholarships for students who are U.S. citizens, since DACA students aren’t eligible.
What will keep us safer, welcoming productive residents who have deep gratitude and loyalty to this country and want to stay, or sewing seeds of frustration and resentment by casting them out of the place they have known as home?