Washington, DC—Today, President Trump said that he would not reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the United States as children from deportation, without Congress approving a “massive” build-up in border security. According to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading research and advocacy organization, the ongoing debate further underscores the fundamental need to ensure that DACA recipients are protected from deportation, without using this issue as a bargaining chip.
“Congress should address the urgent need for DACA without enacting border security policies that are cruel and wasteful,” said Adam Isacson, WOLA Senior Associate for Defense Oversight. “There are real needs at the border, from under-resourced ports of entry to outdated technology to reversing personnel attrition. These needs are deep and unaddressed. Both parties should be able to agree on a common-sense approach to border security, one that doesn’t involve supporting the Trump administration’s cruel, anti-immigrant agenda.”
Congress is currently debating funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border; hiring 500 additional Border Patrol agents in 2018; and expanding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation force with 1,600 new hires next year. As WOLA has detailed in a series of analyses, there are other, more effective border security measures that Congress could approve. Providing $1.6 billion to fund a border wall makes no sense, as most drugs are smuggled into the United States via official land crossings that desperately need better technology and resources. An across-the-board expansion of Border Patrol and ICE is counterproductive, and would likely make these agencies more susceptible to abuse and corruption.
“Members of Congress should push for border security measures that would actually make the U.S.-Mexico border safer, instead of signing off on wasteful, divisive, and inhumane policies that don’t serve taxpayers’ interests,” Isacson said.
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