2020 Election SparksDomestic Public Policy

2020 Elections & Domestic Policy: DACA and ACA

Posted on in 2020 Election Sparks · Domestic Public Policy

DACA, implemented in 2012 by the Obama administration, provides protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. It provides them a work permit and a Social Security number, as well. The Trump administration had moved to close the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to new applicants in 2020. Biden has said that he plans on reinstating DACA once inaugurated.

Domestic policy is a basic function of government.  On many issues, there are only marginal changes in policy with the change of an administration due to the system of separation of powers integral to the structure of the government.  Congress, the Supreme Court, and the federal Bureaucracy all play a role in planning, adopting, and implementing public policies in the domestic arena.  Two areas where there were stark differences between the presidential candidates were on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

DACA  is a federal program created through executive order during the Obama administration. The recipients of DACA are young people who have grown up as Americans, identify themselves as Americans, and many speak only English and have no memory of or connection with the country where they were born. Under current immigration law, most of these young people had no way to gain legal residency even though they have lived in the U.S. most of their lives. DACA enables people who came to the U.S. as children and meet several key guidelines to request consideration for deferred action. It allows non-U.S. citizens who qualify to remain in the country for two years, subject to renewal. Recipients are eligible for work authorization and other benefits, and are shielded from deportation. The fee to request DACA is $495 every two years.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a  comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March 2010 (sometimes known as “Obamacare”). The law has 3 primary goals. First, to make affordable health insurance available to more people. The law provides consumers with subsidies (“premium tax credits”) that lower costs for households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. Second, the ACA expands the Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level, although not all states have expanded their Medicaid programs. And finally, it seeks to support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of health care generally. Under the Affordable Care Act, patients who may have been uninsured due to preexisting conditions or limited finances can secure affordable health plans through the health insurance marketplace in their state.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “DACA"


“Your View: Can Biden pave the way for permanent citizenship for Dreamers?”

“Biden’s immigration plan must reform DACA to cover Dreamers whose parents are here legally”

“Immigration advocates push Biden to not just bring back DACA but expand it”

“On Immigration, Activists’ Demands May Exceed Biden Realities”

“This Election—And a Coming Supreme Court Decision—Will Decide the Future of American Health Care”

“ACA & The 2020 Election: Can Obamacare Survive?”

“Post-Election 2020 – Health Care Preview”

“Support for Obamacare Grows as Biden Takes Control”

“Biden Team Looks at Expanding Access to ACA Insurance Marketplaces”


  • Debate: People who were brought here by their parents and have not lived in their country of birth for years should be given citizenship.
  • America needs to catch up to the rest of the world and have universal healthcare paid for though our taxes.
  • Poll: The United States should adopt a single payer healthcare system.
  • The United States should create a path to citizenship for most people who are here undocumented.
  • Short Answer: Choosing one of the two policies (DACA or ACA), lay out the basic argument in favor or opposed to the policy.

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Featured Image Credit: Lars Mulder

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