Much of the public narrative surrounding the DACA program was built by open borders proponents and the mainstream media and is constructed of several core myths. These myths include:
- That the program protects “kids” who were brought into the country through no fault of their own.
- Applicants are almost exclusively Hispanic, and that as poverty-stricken citizens of Latin American republics a short distance away from the wealthy and successful United States, their parents’ decision to violate U.S. immigration laws was somehow acceptable, if not honorable.
- They are often portrayed as having skills well beyond what reality suggests, while the media amplifies that perception by focusing on the rare “valedictorian” in order to create the impression this represents the general DACA population. Likewise, others try to suggest that many are proud members of the U.S. military.
- Open borders advocates also claim DACA recipients are needed as critical essential workers.
Of course, open borders advocates work hard to find rare exceptions in an effort to paint a false picture of the DACA population that convinces Americans the program is a benefit to the public.
Political leaders from both parties also commonly claim that it would be cruel to deport anyone covered by the DACA program because these “incredible kids” would be unable to assimilate if they are sent back to their country of birth – after all, the U.S. was “the only home that they have ever known.” [iii]
Focusing on “kids” is a deliberate way to shift attention from the parents who came here illegally with their children seeking legal status. Rewarding minors with amnesty is giving their parents the very thing they broke the law to achieve. DACA absolved illegal aliens of their fundamental responsibilities as parents and instead suggests that if you violate U.S. immigration policy, American society is responsible for fixing the mess you created for yourself and your family.
From the outset, much of the narrative surrounding the DACA program rang hollow. In a column for The Washington Post, Mickey Kaus described it as public-relations-style “hooey.”[iv] Here are a number of reasons why:
- Many of these DACA “kids” were not brought here as young children. Instead, they entered or were smuggled into the United States as older teenagers.
- In fact, the current average DACA recipient is 27, and as of 2017, 64 percent of all applicants were beyond high school age.[v]
- A large number of DACA applicants weren’t “brought” here by anyone – they crossed the border themselves.
- The DACA program did not require that applicants prove they were brought into the country without their consent.
- Anyone who entered the U.S. prior to age 16 – and who was under 31 on June 15, 2012 – could apply.[vi]
- Very few are valedictorians: [vii]
- Despite being a requirement for the program, less than half (49 percent) of all DACA beneficiaries have a high school education.
- 24 percent can be categorized as functionally illiterate in English.
- Only 46 percent have basic English skills.
- Many have committed serious crimes.
- Of the 756,166 aliens who were approved for DACA, 79,398 (10.4 percent) had at least one prior arrest. Of that total, roughly 16,000 were arrested again at some point after their DACA applications were approved.[viii]
- Some of the charges included DUI, theft, assault, burglary, sexual assault, and even murder.
- Fewer than 900 DACA recipients – slightly more than one-tenth of one percent of the total DACA population – joined the military.[ix]
- Many DACA recipients are from non-Spanish-speaking countries.[x]
- At least 36 of the nations of origin listed by USCIS are European, including: Portugal, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland.
- Applicants also originate from at least nine Asian countries with fully developed or rapidly developing economies, such as South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia.
- 360 nationals of Israel have applied for DACA benefits. Israel is a developed nation, with a thriving economy, that – as a matter of law – accepts all returned citizens and provides free instruction in Hebrew to returnees and immigrants.
- Many DACA recipients are from terror-prone or hostile nations.
- More than 1,000 DACA applications were accepted from Pakistani nationals despite concerns over growing anti-U.S. sentiment within the country and the Pakistani government’s overt support of jihadist terror groups.[xi]
- At least 60 applicants were accepted from Iran, and more than 2,000 from Venezuela, even though both nations remain overtly hostile to the United States. Since DACA does not require a thorough vetting process, it’s impossible to know whether these individuals are fleeing these governments or if they retain sympathies for the failed states.[xii]
- Applications were accepted from Libyans, Syrians, and Yemenis even though the Obama administration had placed travel restrictions on nationals from these countries due to terrorism concerns at the time of the program’s implementation.[xiii]
The evidence shows that most DACA recipients are not shining valedictorians or medal-of-honor recipients like open border proponents and the mainstream media commonly suggest. Furthermore, neither are they typically young children who were brought into the country by no choice of their own. Instead, they are mostly adults in their 20s and 30s, many of whom did not even meet the basic qualifications for the program but were offered DACA status anyways. Tens of thousands of recipients are criminals.