Curbelo’s alternative to DACA shows promise
It’s been all over the news, President Trump’s push to get rid of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) campaign. President Barack Obama created the program back in 2008 with the hope of keeping children brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents safe and making sure they have a chance at success. Provided with an education and job opportunities, the majority have built their lives here and don’t know much about their native country, including the native language. They have made the U.S. their home.
We believe that it would be wrong to deport 800,000 innocent children and punish them for the illegal actions of their parents (sometimes committed 20 or more years ago).
This is by no means a black-and-white issue that has an obvious answer. There are questions to be answered, such as, “How many years should you stay here before you’re safe?”, and the immigrants are asking themselves, “How do I get past these U.S. laws?”.
Curt Curbelo, congressman representing the southernmost region of Florida (FL-26) has proposed a solution, called the Recognizing America’s Children Act (RAC). In this act, he obviously sees how these children consider America their home, they are our children. This act would help protect children who have been brought into the U.S. by their parents, and who have lived here since at least January 1, 2012, to gain a five-year “legal permanent residence-status” if they pursue one of three paths to gain citizenship.
They can choose between joining the military, working and becoming a productive member of society, or obtaining a vocational or degree of higher education. If one of these is met along with a few other requirements, they can be protected by the government, while being allowed to travel outside of the country. The few other requirements would consist of completing a background check, having no former misdemeanor convictions, earning a high school diploma (if age allows), and if older than 18 pursuing one of the three different paths to gain citizenship.
Under the “legal permanent resident status”, these children are protected by the government for five years. It may be renewed one time (for a total of 10 years protection) if certain criteria is met. After it is expired, recipients may apply to become a “lawful permanent resident” (otherwise known as a green-card holder) if they continue to meet the requirements.
There are obviously kinks to be worked out and improvements that could be made regarding the RAC. The RAC could be improved, for example, in the fact that one may not work for two years and enroll in a two-year program at a community college. There is also an issue where dishonorably discharged military individuals would not meet the requirements for the military path. We also believe that the bill should provide an opportunity for federal student loans, work-study programs and financial aid for those pursuing a degree of higher education. A better educated work-force creates jobs and is important for our country’s economic prosperity, which benefits all Americans.