DACA: Legal or Illegal? Plus the American Dream

What is IT?

Tony Plasencia
4 min readNov 29, 2017

According to the USCIS , Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or commonly known as DACA was implemented by President Barack Obama as an Executive Order on August 15, 2012. The policy provides a 2-year deferment from deportation and also grants work permits. Requirements to apply for DACA were “ Under the age of 31 as of June 2012 ; Entered the United States by the 16th birthday; Continuous residence in the United States since June 2007; Physically present in the United States on June 2012, Currently in school, graduated high school, or have obtained a GED, or honorably discharged veteran and Have not been convicted of a felony, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.”

So Why take it away?

In 2017, newly elected President Donald Trump and his administration made the decision to rescind President Obama’s executive order of DACA and have Congress review it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the rescinded of the Act, “ This policy was implemented unilaterally to great controversy and legal concern after Congress rejected legislative proposals to extend similar benefits on numerous occasions to this same group of illegal aliens […] No greater good can be can be done for the overall health and well being of our republic, than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law. Societies where the rule of law is treasured usually tend to flourish and succeed”.

What has happened Since?

Since the Recession of DACA there has thousands of protests nationwide in support of the so called ‘Dreamers’. Attorney Generals in many Blue States such as New York have decided to sue President Trump of the rescission of DACA. In the CNN article,’ Attorneys general in blue states sue Trump over DACA’, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “The Trump administration’s decision to end DACA is cruel, inhumane, and devastating to the 42,000 New Yorkers who have been able to come out of the shadows and live a full life as a result of the program.” Many times when defending DACA people forget that the US government has a obligation to the citizens of the country to not only uphold the laws but undoubtedly keep the Rule of Law for structure in Society and for American values to stay alive.

( DACA Protest LA)

DACA not rescinded?

Personally, if DACA was not to be rescinded then it would be a direct threat to the value of American Democracy. In Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution it states that Congress should have the power “To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization”. One of the biggest problems with DACA is how it was implemented into Law. According to Article 1 Sec.8 only Congress has the ability to create and initiate a law but in 2012 when Obama started this he abused his power as President. Congressman Steve King (Iowa-R) explains, “suspend deportations through executive orders, that’s just not the case because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed…. Congress passes the law”. Representative King has always been displeased with the Act because he makes the point that Obama was in direct violation of his power.

How is it Legal?

DACA obviously had some sort of validity for it to be initiated as an Act it is able to be done, “Congress has given the executive branch discretion over “the administration and enforcement” of the immigration laws. And the Supreme Court has recognized that “[a] principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials . . . . Federal officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue [someone’s] removal at all ..” The President has the power to make laws as he sees fit for the country but is NOT allowed to constitute immigration law.

How can we work on DACA and better serve the Dreamers?

In order for the United States to become a power we must have a strong government and with that the founding principles such as the constitution should be upheld. The administration has given the responsibility to Congress to delegate the futures of these young DREAMers. Deportation is likely not a solution to fix DACA, there must be a thorough review and a new Act must be created by Congress and implemented as a law. The only way to properly rescind DACA in a moral and ethical manner the government must provide a easy route to citizenship. Many of the recipients benefit American Society very much and by allowing a legal route to citizenship, order in the United States may be reconstructed. With a legal ladder to citizenship not only do illegal immigrants win but so do the citizens of the United States of America.

Work Cited



Tony Plasencia

Recent SFSU grad in Political Science. 4 years of tech experience in Silicon Valley & keen to possibilities of Big Tech and AI in our public Sector