Although I was disappointed, I wasn’t surprised when HUD announced last week that FHA would not back loans made to DACA recipients. DACA was a designation made by the Obama Administration that provides temporary legal status for a select group of people who were brought to the U.S. when they were small children and have remained undocumented in this country. These young people know no other country but the United States. Almost all are educated and positive contributors to our society and economy. Polls have shown that there is strong public support within both parties for providing permanent status for these people. Beyond what is morally correct, there aren’t many G-20 countries that would turn away 700,000 hard-working, educated, young adults to boost their workforce and practically guarantee economic growth for a generation. They are a powerful asset.
Of course, the argument against DACA is that people who come to this country without the proper permission and documentation don’t deserve to stay here regardless of the circumstances, and making special considerations for DACA recipients will only incentivize more people to enter our country illegally. Most reasonable people should acknowledge that this argument isn’t without merit, but it is both impractical and against the greater interest of the country to deport these young people. Trust me, if we deport these kids, they will end up living, working, and improving the wealth of another country.
We are a nation of laws but there is a reason why we have a system that allows us to improve and modify our laws. Circumstances are always evolving and a law that was made 50 years ago might be totally unjust today. In other words, if a law no longer serves the nation’s values and overall interests, our legislators have the power and the obligation to change it. Comprehensive immigration reform, which includes improving the process for legal immigration, is complicated, but is an example of a modification that must be done for the greater good of our country.
The DACA recipients, however, are a no-brainer – and declaring them eligible for FHA loans so they can purchase a home did not require legislation. It would have been an easy win for the current administration if they chose to take it. If you read some of the personal stories of the DACA kids, your heart will melt. They are the epitome of what makes this country great. This also makes them the perfect political pawns, and unfortunately that is what they have become. Ironically, the Trump Administration had a rare opportunity to boost our economy and grab a definitive political victory by supporting FHA lending for DACA recipients – and chose to pass on it. The battle continues and at this point there is no end in sight.