Election day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022. These elections held throughout the United States will be integral for our immigration laws and policies. The future of DACA holders, migrants, asylum seekers, etc., could all be greatly affected by the voters.
A recent poll shows that only 6% of Americans believe that immigration is our country’s most important problem. Immigration ranked fourth of the list most important problems, behind government, inflation, and the economy. The importance of the immigration issue has risen and fallen over the years. It seemed to get a lot more attention during the Trump presidency. And in fact, over 20% of Americans mentioned immigration as our country’s top problem in 2018-2019.
Nevertheless, our upcoming elections will help shape the future of the country. Are we a nation that values immigration and inclusivity? Do we want to be hospitable and accommodating, believing that immigration is good for migrants and for America in general? Or, do we view immigration in a negative light, believing that the most important things are border security and restrictive laws and policies?
One issue that has been at the forefront is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This immigration program is commonly referred to as DACA and principally provides work authorization for those who entered the United States before they turned 16 years old. DACA was first enacted in 2012 when Obana was in office. However, it has been under constant attack from Republican governors and attorneys general for the last decade.
Many immigration advocates have talked about the humanity of the program since the people who directly benefit from DACA are young people who were brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own. The program also provides approximately a million willing and able workers at a time when the United States suffers from a huge labor shortage. Democrats are regularly trying to find a permanent solution to help these Dreamers, but this will certainly be all-but-impossible if we have a divided government.
The decisions that voters make on November 8th will obviously decide our future senators, governors, etc. And these specific individuals will be the ones to help set policy and create laws. Therefore, our decisions as voters will determine things like the ability for families to reunite in the United States, the rights of asylum seekers, and whether migrants will be unwittingly transported from end of the country to another.