As we survey the damage of Hurricane Harvey, our hearts are filled for our brothers and sister in Texas. It ‘s hard to comprehend the magnitude of the disaster, to understand how truly horrific it must be not to know the fate of your loved ones, and to watch as everything you own is washed away by rising flood waters.
As we grapple with the immediate need for rescues, shelter, food, and clean drinking water, we remember the losses of Katrina and how that disaster changed the economic landscape of Louisiana. What has been dealt with Houston is likely to be far greater and have a lasting impact beyond what few can imagine.
While we should not lose sight that the most urgent needs facing Texas come from the devastation of the hurricane and subsequent flooding. We should also not ignore the economic threat that is coming as Trump threatens to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows some who came to the US as children to receive protection from deportation. This program encourages young people to join the open market, train and develop skills, and to avoid activities that might threaten their work status. There are approximately 700,000 people taking advantage of this program, or 5% to 7% of all illegal aliens in the nation.
Not only would the repeal result in the loss of the contribution of these young people made as productive members of society, but it creates particular national security problems by basically removing the incentive to remain law-abiding citizens to ensure legal status to work. We are encouraging hundreds of thousands of young people to engage in illegal activity, after all, what do they have to lose? Those with ties to the community will find ways to stay and will be forced to engage in criminal activities to support themselves.
The financial fall out will be staggering. According to a study by the CATO Institute, the repeal of DACA would cost us an estimated $200 billion. Given the scope of the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey, Texas just cannot afford to take such a hit.
But what is driving this decision is Trump’s campaign promise, and his failed attacks on immigration, and repealing DACA likely seems like an opportunity to demonstrate some power finally. The issue isn’t whether this makes sense for Texas and the nation, but whether it will find favor with the furthest reaches of the alt-right.
Ending DACA has become merely a political stunt, which will leave us all less secure, rob our brightest minds of their future and drain the economy.
We need to send leaders to Washington that will stand up and stop this nonsense. My name is Brianna Westbrook, and I promise to bring sanity to all our immigration issues.