The Board of Trustees did what any fair and accepting governing board would do. The five area members voted unanimously on Jan. 17 to support all of Citrus College, including undocumented immigrants. Fear that President Trump might deport students without papers prompted their action.
“All people have the opportunity to reach their full educational potential; the colleges embrace diversity in all its forms; all people have the right to access quality higher education,” the resolution stated.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was introduced in 2012 by executive order under Barack Obama. DACA provides a renewable two-year deferred action period for undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria.
The criteria for acceptance under DACA closely parallels an executive order by Ronald Reagan in 1986 called the Immigration Reform and Control Act. To qualify for deferred action, undocumented immigrants must have come to the U.S. before the age of 16. This group of immigrants, also referred to as “Dreamers,” must be pursuing an education and must not have been convicted of any serious crime.
In 2012, a notice in the White House website said that it would “stop punishing innocent young people brought to the country through no fault of their own by their parents.”
Opponents of DACA argue that by letting dreamers stay in the country, their parents are being rewarded for breaking immigration laws and that may encourage families to keep crossing the border.
However, the only immigrants accepted under DACA must be law-abiding citizens. Burglaries, domestic violence and drug trafficking are a few examples of crimes that tarnish their chance for their application to be accepted and help to ensure public safety.
When dreamers came to the country they were simply looking for opportunity; not to carry out ulterior motives like taking away American jobs.
On Jan. 25, Trump issued an executive action ordering the construction of the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, forewarning what he may do next: repeal DACA and send the almost 750,000 undocumented students back “home.” There are about 216,000 people supported by DACA in California, a bigger population than any other state in the nation, according to Pew Research Center.
In a letter to Trump, Janet Napolitano, the University of California president, Timothy P. White, the chancellor of California State University, and Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the chancellor-designate of California Community Colleges, spoke up on behalf of all DACA students in California.
“These sons and daughters of undocumented immigrants are as American as any other child across the nation, in all but in the letter of the law,” the letter stated. “Some never even spoke the language of their native land.”
Students go to college to learn. Being undocumented does not make DACA students any less valuable than those who are American-born. DACA students walk hard to maximize opportunity and contribute to the well-being of our communities by stimulating the economy and promoting a chance for an education.
According to a survey conducted by the Center for American Progress in 2016, slightly over 90 percent of citizens supported by DACA obtain driver’s licenses, which generates state revenue and owning a license makes it easier for them to commute to their jobs, which stimulates the economy.
The idea of deporting all 750,000 dreamers in our country is preposterous. The U.S. is supposed to be the land of opportunity. We should be proud of the accepting nature of DACA, not afraid of living alongside the families that repealing it would tear apart.
Written by Sahara Barba, with approval of the Clarion Editorial Board.