DACA: Mercy or Opportunity?

by James Coffey

On Tuesday, September 5, President Donald Trump revoked an executive order constructed by former president Barack Obama. The Deferred Action on Childhood Arrival (DACA) program was established to protect those who immigrated to America before the age of sixteen, and who held a clean record in our country, from being deported. Republicans have been calling for Trump to revoke DACA, because they perceive Obama’s executive order to be unconstitutional since Congress is supposed to create immigration laws. The debate over DACA continues to surge on without resolution, as with most topics of political policy these days. This has occured in the media coverage of the revocation of the law. Two articles that present near polar opposite views of this event are from cnbc.com as well as townhall.com. CNBC, the Consumer News and Business Channel, is a very moderately left leaning organization that focuses mostly on politics and economics with an outstanding fact check history. Its audience spans globally, and is typically composed of high earners. Town Hall is both an online and print publication that has a conservative bias. It’s an American based publication, and the majority of its readers are middle aged males. The two sources have two very different audiences, and while neither of the publications is radical, they do stand on opposite side of the political spectrum, leading to two extremely different takes on DACA.

These differences started in the title of each article. In the CNBC article, author Rodolfo Monterrosa uses the title, “Ending DACA puts ‘Dreamers’ at mercy of Congress,” while Town Hall columnist Laura Hollis titles her article, “DACA Revocation is an Opportunity for the GOP.” Monterrosa uses the word ” ‘Dreamer,’ “which is the colloquial term used mostly by DACA supporters, to show that the children formerly protected by DACA need protection in order to carry out their American dream. In addition, he uses the term “at mercy” to depict a sense of helplessness for the Dreamers. This phrase also begins to evoke sympathy for the Dreamers, as they seem to be subjected to the cruel powers of Congress. On the flip side, Hollis uses both “GOP” and “opportunity” in her title. These indicate that the revocation of DACA brings hope to the Republican party in the future. Focusing on the new Republican opportunities is a stark contrast to focusing on the uncertainty and mercy in the lives of the Dreamers. The titles alone quickly frame just how different the two articles will portray the DACA revocation.

Not too far below the title, both articles contain a feature image that separates the two even further. In the CNBC article, the image portrays a few peaceful protestors holding up a sign saying “Dreamers get the job done!” in front of the white house. Not only does this show how pacified the crowd is, the sign that is front in center in the photo is a direct reference to the song “(Immigrants) We get the job done” from the Broadway play “Hamilton.” The song depicts the struggle of immigrants in our nation, despite being a nation founded by immigrants. The Town Hall article uses a photograph of Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi amidst a fiery speech. Pelosi’s expression evokes a sense of frustration and anger for Democrats, and seems to take a shot at the party, considering Pelosi is not it’s most well liked representative. In addition, upon researching the photograph further, it appears Town Hall cropped the picture so that a sign saying “#Protect Dreamers” was omitted from the article.

The entire body of the article follows suit from the title and opening photograph, with the CNBC article attempting to write with pathos and create sympathy for the Dreamers, and the Town Hall article using logos. This is prevalent especially in the lead in for each article. Monterrosa begins with a personal anecdote about being a first generation American with immigrant parents, while Hollis begins with a knock on President Obama, “There’s a saying they teach in law school: “Hard cases make bad law.” The current debacle over DACA demonstrates the inverse: Bad law makes hard cases. And DACA is bad law.” The two continue to further differ when discussing the legality of DACA: “Obama…embraced a legal immigration concept,” and “This was an unconstitutional violation”  seem to be describing two very different topics, yet they are both in reference to the Obama instatement of DACA (Monterrosa, Hollis). In addition, Town Hall continues to try to diminish the ethos of Obama, and improve their own by stating that he contradicted himself after stating nearly two dozen times that “only Congress has the power to write immigration law.” (Hollis). The statistics presented in the two articles also further the gap in the coverage of DACA. “DACA beneficiaries will contribute $460.3 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product over the next decade—economic growth that would be lost were DACA to be eliminated” (Monterrosa). And In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, granting “amnesty” to approximately 2.7 million people then in the United States illegally…Today, more than four times that number—more than 11 million people—are estimated to live in the U.S. illegally” (Hollis). These articles portray two extremely different views on what DACA brought to our country. Monterrosa notes the economic growth the Dreamers add, while Hollis mentions only the increase in illegal immigration into our nation. Both articles omit the other side’s rather important statistics in order to try to sway the audience according to their views.

Hollis and Monterrosa’s articles differ in just about every sense. From the title, to the tone, to the discrepancies in every corner of the article, the two don’t agree on anything. It seems like these two articles might actually be a microcosm for the current landscape of our country. Nobody can agree on any major political issues, and with such a divided nation every issue becomes much too black and white. This is a problem because in just about every scenario, both sides have flaws in their argument, and without the will to collaborate, our political structure will flounder on coming to any resolutions on issues such as DACA. These articles further that gap, with each side pushing it’s own agenda; exactly the reason why one event can be written in two completely different tones.

Works Cited

“About CNBC EMEA.” CNBC. CNBC, 14 Sept. 2015. Web.

Hollis, Laura. “DACA Revocation Is an Opportunity for the GOP.” Townhall. Townhall.com, 07 Sept. 2017. Web.

Kreps, Daniel. “Lin-Manuel Miranda Releases ‘Immigrants’ Video From ‘Hamilton Mixtape’.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 28 June 2017. Web.

Magana, Jose Luis. Nancy Pelosi. Digital image. Washingtontimes.com. Washington Times, 06 Sept. 2017. Web.

Monterrosa, Rodolfo. “Ending DACA Puts ‘Dreamers’ at Mercy of Congress.” CNBC. CNBC, 05 Sept. 2017. Web.

“Townhall Media Kit.” Brand. Town Hall, n.d. Web.