From the Editor

Could Attacks on DACA Finally Lead to Immigration Reform?

By:  Victor Abalos

We try to keep things local here but often lately news from Washington DC dominates local conversations. Now it’s DACA – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – the meager but vital attempt at immigration reform.

We posted the letter CA Attorney General Javier Becerra and 19 other Attorneys General sent the president before he took action to overturn it. The July letter, only 3 pages, outlines the legal, moral and constitutional argments to support DACA. But it also includes the economic argument, which is probably intended to appeal to the businessman in the White House.

Some have argued the President’s action to repeal DACA may at last force Congress to do what former President Obama could not get out of Congress – real immigration reform. If that does start to happen, I would argue the most effective strategy may rely on those economic arguments.

Moral arguments don’t seem to carry much weight these days and with a possible 4-4 outcome from the Supreme Court, Congress is actually where this issue should end up. Before immigration reform fell off the radar, activists were making some headway using economics to support their case. Calling them “undocumented taxpayers” and relying on solid economic data made a much more compelling case than the arguments we’ve heard for decades. It would be satisfying to win an argument based on the high ideals our country represents but history teaches us to be more strategic.

Some other good reads about DACA and Dreamers:

  • Maribel Hastings in LatinoCalifornia
  • UC President Janet Napolitano (who actually sued the WH first)
  • Ruth Umoh provides the business argument on CNBC
  • This letter to the editor of a small town in Washington was intriguing. Written by a Dreamer, it tells a typical story but the reaction it generated was what drew my attention. Responses were reasonable and devoid of hate – even those against DACA.


Victor Abalos is Executive Director of the Southern California Latino Policy Center and Editor of the Latino Policy Connection.

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