DACA is a measure of nation's moral compass

The debate over President Trump's rescind of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has essentially emerged as a test of what remains of our nation's ability to exert any form of moral authority. DACA establishes an opportunity for children and young adults who have been in the United States as undocumented immigrants for most, if not all, of their lives to obtain work permits and delay the possibility of deportation.

DACA was a temporary action taken by the Obama administration, intended not to penalize kids who often had absolutely no say in their arrival in the United States. I am no different from any of the roughly 800,000 individuals that are covered by DACA. I also had no choice in the matter of where I happened to be born. While I acknowledge every day the privilege it is to be an American citizen, I also fervently believe that this does not elevate my humanity to a level different from that of any other person.


America should have an immigration policy that allows the United States to effectively document immigrants that enter our country. An effective immigration policy is an issue of critical national security. However, it's cruel to punish kids who have lived in America for their entire lives and don't have a country to "go back to." America is a nation of immigrants. Each wave of immigrants has added to our heritage. To suppress immigration (and DACA kids are hardly immigrants) is to hamstring our country's growth and vitality.

Those justifying their support of the President's actions say things like:

"Where do we draw the line?"

"These people are not Americans, Americans should get priority."

"Borders, language, and culture."

The inhumanity and lack of compassion or empathy for other human beings seems to be rooted in some form of self-righteous nationalism and utterly devoid of facts.

"Dreamers" are amongst the most vetted of immigrants — 72 percent of those in the U.S. under DACA are enrolled in institutions of higher education. They make considerable contributions to our economy and enrich our culture. They have lived their entire lives as Americans and should be given the opportunity to make that a reality.

Zach Hands


The writer is a member of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee.