DACA recipients deserve to vote in elections

Adamary Lopez, Reporter

Everywhere you go, you see the word “vote” adorned in red, white, and blue colors. Everyone is being urged to cast their votes this year. The outcome of the election will decide how the lives of millions will look these next four years. Some have the privilege to make a decision on how they would like the next few years to look and some might not care at all.  

But what about the voices of over 800,000 people under the program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals who are unable to cast their vote? DACA is a program which grants residency status to immigrants that were illegally brought into the U.S. as children. DACA recipients play a huge role in our economy and face the biggest struggles when applying for jobs and financial aid for school, yet they have no say during presidential elections.  

“Non-citizens, including permanent legal residents [cannot vote],” states the official USA government website.   

Thousands of DACA recipients lived in the U.S. almost their entire lives. They’ve learned English, graduated high school, applied for college, started their families, and stood hundreds of times for the pledge of allegiance. However, by law, they cannot vote during presidential elections. 

According to the Small Business Government website, DACA recipients contribute largely to federal programs such as Social Security and Medicaid. In 2018, they contributed 1.4 billion in federal taxes, 2 billion in social security, and 470 million in Medicaid. They also pay more in state and local taxes than the top 1% of the country.  

The right to vote is something which is many times overseen by those who have the power to do so. DACA recipients have lived in fear these last four years as the Trump Administration attempted many times to remove the program. As a result, it could cost the U.S. over 460 billion dollars within the next decade.  

According to the USA Facts Government website, DACA provides enrollees with legal residency, but not with a chance for citizenship. This means that the future remains a challenge for hundreds of thousands of people. The livelihood of the program and changes which can benefit recipients depends on who gets elected into government. DACA recipients, who are the most affected by those decisions, are unable to participate themselves.  

If you have lived in the United States for more than half your life, never been convicted with a felony, and paid your taxes on time each year, you should be allowed to vote. Democracy is about everyone having a say. Just because you were not born in the U.S. does not mean you should be excluded from participating in elections, which drastically shape your life.  

DACA recipients never asked to cross the border. That decision was an effort made by their parents and/or guardians for a chance at a better life. Instead of leaving the moment that things got difficult because they didn’t have a social security number, they have made it happen regardless of the many challenges they have faced.  

Presidential elections impact everyone. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, consider how much more difficult others have it. Please vote. Vote for those who cannot vote.