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For DACA immigrants, America is their home

April 16, 2018 GMT

My maternal grandfather was born in America, but his older brothers and sisters were born in England. My grandfather’s parents first migrated to Australia but for some reason decided not to stay there.

They were from Birmingham, England. They were coal miners, and the prospects for jobs in coal mining were greater in West Virginia. Strangely, they participated in the Oklahoma land rush, but all the good acreage was taken by the time they looked over possible choices. Consequently, they returned to West Virginia, and when he was old enough, my grandfather followed his father into the mines.

They were immigrants. And, had they not come to America where my grandfather met and married my grandmother, I might never have seen the light of day. Immigrants have a special place in my heart.

Since the beginning (whenever that was), I suppose, human beings have been nomadic. They’ve moved from place to place from time to time to find better “digs.” They looked for more fertile ground. They looked for better jobs. They looked for better opportunities for their families. One thing is certain — they wanted a better, more anxiety-free life.

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Immigrants are to be applauded. On the average I think they are not any more responsible for disorder and misdeeds than are those of us who have been around for three or four generations. They bubble over with initiative and entrepreneurial enthusiasm.

What we call the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was introduced by President Barack Obama in 2012. The idea was to “shield from deportation” people who were brought to the United States as children. As it was originally integrated into our immigration policies, the status was renewable, two years at a time, and it did not provide a pathway to citizenship.

One of the biggest brouhahas in “the swamp” nowadays is over this “single policy — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — which will determine the fate of a small, yet politically powerful group of young immigrants,” according to a characterization of the issue in The New York Times.

As I see it, it boils down to one salient point: What will be accomplished that will benefit us, as a country, by sending these youngsters back to their countries of birth?

We’re talking about young people, for the most part, who have been in the United States for the greater part of their lives; we’ve educated them in our schools; and they have, in many cases, begun their careers here in America. AMERICA IS THEIR HOME!

To answer my own question — absolutely nothing!

Frankly, I see this DACA business as a political maneuver. It is a manufactured issue latched onto by the ridiculously conservative “America First” bunch. It appeals to folks who are jobless. It riles those who feel that somehow what is “due” them is being parceled out to people who do not, as they do, deserve it. It is a spoiled, entitled way of thinking.

People who have been in this country since childhood should, with an appropriate cut-off date, be granted amnesty and citizenship.

In no time at all, in my humble opinion, this DACA to-do will blow over.

Milt Hankins is a theologian, former pastor and local author. His website is columnistwithaview.com.