The Misleading Claims Regarding DACA Health Care Workers Amid COVID-19



The role of health care professionals in the United States during the COVID-19 outbreak cannot be understated. Their front-line work has saved and treated hundreds of thousands of Americans as the country remains the epicenter of the disease. Without the assistance and dedication from these workers, our nation would be in much worse shape today.

Among these healthcare workers are approximately 29,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. In recent months, the corporate media and open borders lobby have depicted these individuals as crucial figures in the fight against coronavirus. And with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling on the legality of the Trump administration’s plan to terminate DACA in the coming weeks, these groups have alluded that it would be unjust to deport this group. 

But should SCOTUS rule against this program, would the United States lose its ability to effectively fight against the disease and should the DACA population fear immediate deportation? Or should this population be rewarded with amnesty for their service? Let’s break it down. 

While at first glance 29,000 DACA medical professionals appears to be a significant figure, it remains miniscule in comparison to the 14.8 million health care professionals in the country. In fact, DACA medical professionals represent a mere 0.2 percent of the nation’s medical worker professionals. Thus, it is extremely misleading for the corporate media and open borders lobby to depict DACA workers as crucial in the fight against coronavirus.

Furthermore, any shortage of healthcare workers could be filled in by the 33 million Americans who have filed for unemployment in the last few weeks. Granted, not every single individual in this population is a trained healthcare worker, but in April alone, health care employment  declined by 1.4 million jobs with offices of physicians and health care practitioners ranking as some of the most hit areas. It is more than reasonable to assume that some of these unemployed individuals would be qualified to work in these potentially open positions.

The open borders lobby has also painted the picture that DACA recipients are set to be immediately deported should SCOTUS rule against the DACA program. This fear is unsubstantiated.

First, no one really knows what the logistics would look like following a termination of the program. Mass deportations are unlikely to happen even if DACA is terminated. Recipients will be subject for deportation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be deported. In fact, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement only deported 95,000 illegal aliens in 2018 out of some 14 million illegal aliens in the country (less than one percent). The most immediate result would be a phased-in loss of work authorizations as DACA status is not renewed. 

The larger point that is often misunderstood from the upcoming SCOTUS ruling on DACA is that the decision won’t even touch on whether the program was constitutional in the first place. It is first addressing whether the Trump administration has the authority to end an administration program implemented by the Obama administration. 

Simply put, the corporate media and open borders lobby are merely using this crisis as an opportunity to promote their longstanding goal of gaining amnesty for DACA recipients and to portray the Trump administration as anti-immigrant.

It must be reiterated that DACA recipients are here illegally. DACA never promised them anything more than deferment from removal and temporary work authorization, granted in two-year increments. At no point does DACA guarantee any permanent legal status in the country, which many of them understood at the time of their application.

DACA recipients have already benefited from eight years of deferment from removal and temporary work authorization. The 29,000 DACA recipients in health care fields, like all workers, have been “rewarded” for their work in the form of paychecks. Merely doing the jobs they signed up for, while taking advantage of the DACA program, should not include an expectation of amnesty for immigration violations.

If the United States were to grant amnesty or a forgiving of illegal entry into the country, simply for service in the healthcare industry, it would incentivize more illegal immigration. There would also be those who’d advocate amnesty for DACA professions in other industries as they’d classify their work as “essential” or “crucial.” The amnesty opportunity would undoubtedly bring migration surges at the southern border, creating a potential border crisis similar to what we saw last spring.

Nonetheless, the corporate media and open borders lobby continue to insist that DACA beneficiaries should be entitled to special benefits for simply doing the same work as everyone else in their chosen fields.

About Author

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Matthew joined FAIR in 2018 as FAIR’s communications specialist. Matthew is a primary media contact for the organization and assists with all of the organization’s communication activities. He brings previous experience in government research, writing, and communications. Before joining FAIR, Matthew worked in the Wisconsin State Senate as well as a Wisconsin political non-profit. Matthew holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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