Editorial: Policy on immigration, DACA should involve empathy


Demonstrators hold signs in front of the Neal Smith Federal Building for the Iowans Need Your Help: Rally To Support Dreamers and TPS Holders on Dec. 1, 2017. About 50 people attended the event.

Editorial Board

It seems in discussing immigration, some believe policy and empathy can’t go hand in hand. But in fact, they can. Law should not be without consideration of who is affected.

This fall, the Trump administration decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should Congress not act to save the program before March. 

As we said in a previous editorial, Iowa State and America need Dreamers. We argued for this because immigrants are a necessary part of our economy and this program affects 800,000 people.

International migration was the largest amount of growth in Iowa. From 2010 to 2015, about 7,000 people left Iowa and 29,000 international immigrants entered the state. If it weren’t for immigrants, it’s likely the state would not be seeing growth.

Programs like DACA make increasing population possible. And as the state continues to age, immigrants will be even more necessary to replace those retiring.

If economic benefits for the state aren’t enough to tell you why we need immigrants and programs like DACA, we must also remember many DACA recipients don’t even know another country as their home. Many were brought here as children, when they had no say in the decision.

Additionally, even those who came as adults often came for a better life and are working in jobs in America at a time when many states, including Iowa, are facing a shortage in work force. 

In talking about DACA recipients, even those at Iowa State who came here as children, the age old argument against the program is the process to become a citizen should be better and then we wouldn’t need programs like DACA. 

That’s very true, but it fails to recognize the 800,000 people who would be displaced should we end this program now. Fight for a better process to become a citizen, but don’t displace 800,000 people in the mean time.

So, yes, we agree — let’s work on making it easier to become a citizen if you are a hard working immigrant who is helping make America better. But let’s not forget the policy we have right now affects people right now. We implore Congress not only to help make becoming a citizen easier, but to reinstate DACA because it matters in the present moment.