The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an opinion piece written by the directors of several Bay Area religious organizations. Based on a single PBS News Hour/Marist poll, it makes the outrageous claim that 81 percent of registered American voters support legalization for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, therefore Congress should listen and a new version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).
The authors believe that, “DACA was and is a commonsense solution to protect the hundreds of thousands of undocumented youths attending school, serving in the military, contributing to our economy and participating in our communities. Now is the time to make these protections permanent.”
Of course, there are some serious problems with that logic:
- DACA recipients aren’t “undocumented youths,” they are illegal aliens. Many of the DACA “kids” were not brought here as young children. Instead they were smuggled into the United States as older children – “tweens” (ages 8-12) and teenagers. As a result, they are able to speak the language of their country-of-origin and have a basic knowledge of its culture. And a very large number of DACA applicants weren’t “brought” here by anyone – they crossed the border themselves.
- DACA wasn’t “common sense.” It was illegal. President Obama didn’t like the fact that Congress declined to pass the DREAM Act on multiple occasions. So he ignored the law altogether and implemented a watered-down version of the DREAM Act. But the Constitution confers no authority on the President to make laws, that job belongs to Congress.
- There aren’t “hundreds of thousands of undocumented youths attending school, serving in the military, contributing to our economy and participating in our communities”:
- Over 2,000 DACA recipients had their status terminated because they were convicted of crimes ranging from alien smuggling to sexual assault.
- According to Harvard researcher Roberto G. Gonzalez, only 22 percent of DACA recipients have earned a bachelor’s degree and 21 percent are high school dropouts. 32 percent of all Americans hold a BA or BS degree, only 5.9 percent of all Americans drop out of high school.
- Fewer than 900 DACA recipients – slightly more than one tenth of one percent of the total DACA population – joined the military.
- The Congressional Budget Office has determined that an updated version of the DREAM Act, were it to pass into law, would cost taxpayers at least $26 billion over the first decade.
A PBS News Hour/Marist poll may indeed have shown that some voters support amnesty programs. However, the results would have been drastically different if pollsters asked a question like, “Do you believe it is wise to reward illegal aliens for breaking our immigration laws?” A Rasmussen poll, whose questions were phrased very differently than the PBS/Marist survey, recently found that Americans believe programs like DACA encourage illegal immigration.
But all the polls in the world don’t really matter. Voters have made their opinions about the DREAM Act known to their representatives in the Senate and the House of Representatives. In fact, that’s why every attempt to pass the DREAM Act has failed. American voters have also spoken in recent elections. And Donald Trump won the presidency because he heard what the American people really want when it comes to immigration. He and Congress should keep listening and ignore the pollsters.