As an international student, I obviously pay out-of-state tuition. However, many Dreamers — young people who are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — have spent their entire lives in Pennsylvania but have to pay out-of-state tuition too.
DACA was passed by former President Barack Obama in June 2012, so that young people couldn’t be forced to go back to countries they didn’t know as home. DACA recipients are protected from deportation and allowed to work in America if they meet certain requirements, like having no criminal record.
On Sept. 5, President Donald Trump’s administration announced that the immigration policy would be phased out beginning March 2018. The 800,000 Dreamers registered under DACA may face deportation without this program.
A couple of weeks back, when I heard about DACA being rescinded, it struck me as very unfair. How can the government force people out of our country when it’s all they’ve known?
I realized how fortunate I am to have the security of knowing I would not have to abandon my studies in the United States before they are completed.
Repealing DACA is a decision that affects the lives of people who — through no fault of their own — now wake up every day in fear of losing the country they’ve inhabited for years. It is important for non-affected students to rally in support behind their fellow Americans.
When it comes to political decisions, oftentimes governments do not put much importance on morality and compassion and instead look for hard facts. Considering DACA, even if we set aside the humanitarian reasons, there are statistics that show how repealing this policy can affect the economy.
By giving Dreamers proper work authorizations that allowed them to generate incomes and pay taxes, our economy improved. Rescinding DACA will bring detrimental effects to the economy of many individual states.
Last week, Paley Library hosted a program called “Creating a Welcoming Campus Community in 2017,” which featured a panel focused on spreading awareness about DACA and how it affects our student body.
It is satisfying to know Temple has risen to the occasion and is trying to bring more awareness about the unjust reality of this issue.
These young people have gone to school here and contributed to the economy by working. They are as “American” as anyone who has grown up alongside them. But our presidential administration is telling them they don’t belong.
By holding programs like the one that took place last week, Temple is reminding DACA recipients that they belong on our campus while spreading awareness to those who are unaffected.
Jessica Sandberg, director of International Admissions, even posted a YouTube video last November reaching out to international and undocumented students, so that they know they are welcome at the university.
We should be welcoming Dreamers to our country, and more specifically, our university, with open arms. And while holding programs is important, another way to welcome Dreamers is to allow them to pay in-state tuition.
We should be treating these students like Pennsylvanians, not only for the morality of it all but also because they’ve paid taxes like other state residents.
There does not seem to be a fair or justifiable reason for rescinding DACA. It can be seen as a way to distract the nation from the more imminent problems the country is facing, and it is going to uproot the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have grown up in America.
While DACA is about to be eliminated, Temple should keep taking measures to protect students. The university is honorable in bringing attention to this crisis, and I hope the support continues.
Myra Mirza is a junior computer science major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article misstated the author’s last name, which has been updated.