Views expressed in opinion columns are the author's own.
President Trump's decision to end DACA is, above all else, absurd. The order is cruel and racist, but it is also one of the most nonsensical positions Trump has taken in a presidency defined by nonsensical positions. It throws red meat to Trump's base and spites our American values, basic decency and simple logic. Rescinding this program threatens more than 800,000 people, their families, their communities and the only home that they have ever known while helping no one. It is unambiguously opposed to the common interest of the American people. And yet it is now policy.
At best, moving to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals fundamentally misunderstands the goal of immigration policy. Other conservative immigration plans, even those perceived as anti-immigrant, seek to protect Americans or the economy. While I personally disagree with such policies, they at least follow a distinct line of reasoning. Believing that an influx of cheap labor could force wages down and Americans out of work is a rational, if somewhat reductive, point of view.
But ending DACA accomplishes none of those goals. It judges illegal immigration to be bad on principle without acknowledging or addressing the actual problems it may cause. DACA recipients technically arrived in the United States illegally, but they are also firmly immersed in their local communities and economies. Deporting them or revoking their work permits does not secure high-paying jobs for native-born Americans or legal immigrants because it removes only people who are already a part of the normal workforce.
According to a recent Cato Institute study, phasing out DACA could cost the economy $280 billion and the federal government $60 billion if all DACA recipients were deported immediately. While some of these costs may be lowered by a gradual phasing out of the program, Trump has offered no such plan and the bulk of those expenses would likely remain regardless.
In addition to hurting the economy, Trump's decision on DACA will be an unnecessary burden on immigration security. If the administration chooses to pursue the deportation of all current DACA recipients, it will be forced to expend money and resources that could be used to bolster other immigration efforts. Since DACA recipients are required to have a clean criminal record, their removal alone would not make Americans safer. It is therefore possible that ending DACA could make the border less safe. Between hurting the economy and compromising border security, it is hard to see what Trump hopes to accomplish by ending DACA.
Granted, the president didn't abandon the program entirely, instead opting to kick the problem to Congress. However, Congress has failed to pass similar measures for years, and if Trump had wanted to preserve DACA in some form, he could've pushed for congressional action before moving to end the program. His decision not to do so speaks volumes about his administration's true motives.
We are left with a decision that threatens to destroy hundreds of thousands of lives, negatively impacts the economy and undermines the efficacy of our immigration security programs. This isn't bad policy. Policy, even bad policy, requires a plan or a desired outcome. Trump's decision on DACA has neither. It is a shortsighted, nonsensical attempt to appeal to a small minority of the American people.
This isn't policy. It's anti-policy. It contradicts everything it hopes to accomplish. It works against American interests. It is a farcical misinterpretation of what it means to run a government. As American politics continue to move away from focusing on policy, the Trump administration's action on DACA is a harbinger of the chaos to come.
Nate Rogers is a freshman computer science major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.