America is a country of social justice and also has a rich tradition of immigration. The lure of American Dream is so strong that the country is home to estimated 11 million immigrants most of whom arrived in the country before 2004, according to an article in The Economist. The country’s commitment to fair values may explain why President Obama granted temporary relief to undocumented immigrants who came to the US before the age of 16 and met one or more of the conditions under DACA. Trump’s election has caused concerns among many undocumented residents but Americans should not abandon them. First of all, undocumented families should be protected and second, legal representation should be provided to every undocumented resident who is entitled to it.
A significant proportion of the undocumented residents who qualified for temporary relief under DACA have known no other home except the U.S. These include individuals like Greisa Martinez of United We Dream. They may lack legal papers but they fulfill almost every other criteria of citizenship including their love for the U.S. I personally know many people who came to the U.S. as children and have little or no recollection of their lives before that. Similarly, legal representation should be offered to everyone who qualifies because legal protections should not depend upon one’s economic resources, especially, in a strong democracy like the U.S. The article mentions people with legal representation are five and half times more likely to avoid deportation than those who represent themselves. It is clear many undocumented residents often have strong cases for staying in the U.S.
Some argue all undocumented residents should be deported because their presence in the US means they have already broken the law. It should be noted the American businesses and individuals who hire them are equally guilty. If they do not hire undocumented residents, the undocumented immigration will not only decline but even those in the U.S. might leave voluntarily.
The U.S. is a country of fair values. We should not punish children who have known no other country besides the U.S. Similarly, we should offer the protections of the law to those undocumented residents, too who have limited resources and make valuable contributions to the country.