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Az universities and colleges react to DACA

As the news broke Tuesday that President Trump would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, universities and colleges across Arizona sent statements to their students.

President Dr. Michael Crow of Arizona State University promised “if DACA is eliminated, we will rise to the challenge”. Crow outlined six steps ASU will take in response to President Trump’s DACA decision including “facilitating legal advice for and to our students”.

Fallon Leyba, an ASU junior and Chair of the Students for a Democratic Society, wasn’t pleased with Crow’s response.

“It’s not enough, that’s for sure,” Leyba said. “We’ll only be satisfied when he promises to keep ICE off campus and he does everything in his power to make sure everyone is able to continue their education here.” Leyba and other student members of the organization are planning events which, they hope, inspire further action from Crow

Oscar Hernandez, an ASU DACA recipient and member of Undocumented Students for Education Equity, said he questioned Crow’s decision to use e-mail to send the statement about supporting DACA students.

“It’s a very sensitive subject that could impact people’s lives,” Hernandez said, “and it felt insensitive just to get an e-mail.”

Hernandez thinks Arizona’s status as a red state affects Crow.

“I think he’s doing the best that he can, considering that we’re living in a Republican state and that the university depends a lot on the public funding that it receives from the state.”

Mesa Community College student Ezequiel Santos felt heartened by his school’s reaction. Mesa Community College is part of the Maricopa County Community Colleges system and Chancellor Maria Harper-Marinick said in the college’s official statement there are approximately 2,000 DACA students currently enrolled in Maricopa County Community Colleges.

“We are committed to helping all people–regardless of their background–achieve their academic goals and fulfill their potential,” said Harper-Marinick.

Santos is a 25-year-old freshman at Mesa Community College. He founded Mesa Undocumented Students Thriving, a student group known as MUST.

As a DACA recipient himself, he said he was comforted by the chancellor’s statement.

“I was super happy to see that the chancellor was in favor of me and my classmates,” Santos said.

And the support, Santos said, hasn’t only come from the college’s administration.

“Because of the political climate we’ve seen, more students want to stand up and fight back,” he said. “I feel that DACA recipients grew up with this fear and it was normal. It grew with us into adulthood, but now that we’ve seen a lot of other students speak out and fight back, we feel other people who were in the shadows are coming out.”

Santos compared President Trump’s decision to “wind down” the DACA program to a break-up.

“It feels like a break-up, like you’re being pushed away and you love this country. You grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I grew up as a Boy Scout. I feel very involved in our community and very connected to it, so it’s a little bit depressing.”

Chancellor Harper-Marinick’s statement helped with that, Santos said.

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“That one act of resilience and unity from our chancellor just gives us that warm feeling that some of the people out there care,” he said.

The University of Arizona released a statement, saying in part “it is our goal to make education accessible to all students and lifelong learners”.

Stephanie Morales, a recent U of A graduate in Public Health and Mexican American studies, said she appreciates the sentiment but wonders what the university will do moving forward.

“My side is just like, okay, well, make these statements but moving on forward, will this translate into action?” Morales said.

Edder Diaz Martinez, an ASU student and DACA recipient who has lived in the United States since he was five years old, echoed Morales’ concerns.

“If DACA were removed and we’re in the middle of a semester, does that mean we’re going to get billed for out-of-state tuition?” Martinez wondered. “Are we going to have to be afraid of ASU police if we encounter them? Are they going to accept our student ID’s without having any other form of ID’s? Are we safe from ICE on campus?”

“These are the kinds of things we have to face every day. We hope to have a campus where we can say, at least here, we’ll be fine.”

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Latest comments on this storyRead all 5 »

Sep 11, 2017, 9:06 am
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3.  Offer an eventual path to citizenship for those who keep their noses clean, even if they did not initially enter the United States legally. To prevent it from becoming too partisan, let that path take a decade or more (so the politicians enacting legislation are not the immediate beneficiaries of votes) during which time people desiring citizenship can become competent in the English language and become educated in our history and institutions.
4.  Deport anyone convicted of a felony or violent crime of any kind, with no future possibility of obtaining a work permit, travel visa, or citizenship. No spouse or child abuse. No drunk or other impaired driving.
5.  Grant citizenship to anyone completing an honorable enlistment in the United States military, as well as their spouses and children.
Immigration is a great blessing to America. We are all enriched and inspired by those who continue to grab hold of the American dream and add brightness of color to the fabric of our national diversity. Flimsy band-aid solutions may have their flash appeal to those who grow weary of government inaction, especially for those who would like to see Congress simply put the stamp of approval on an executive order, but I believe the best way to champion true, meaningful, and lasting immigration reform is to go back to the basics of Schoolhouse Rock.
Congress, collaborate on legislation where you all get something and lose something, resulting in an acceptable compromise which satisfies a strong majority of our citizens and helps foster a new generation of future Americans who will love our country just as the millions upon millions who arrived before them. Itís the least you can do. If you canít, then resign and make room for those who will.

Sep 11, 2017, 8:59 am
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In the meantime there are millions of people living in utter uncertainty about their future, fearful that the slightest turn of fate may have them on the next plane, train, or bus to their country of origin regardless of family and safety considerations. AmericaĀfs politicians owe our citizens a comprehensive legal policy to address this festering situation in a manner which respects valid citizensĀf concerns while extending the hand of compassion to those who seek to join us in the continuation of the grand American experiment in democracy. DACA is not the answer because it rejects constitutional principles of establishing law and holds the valid concerns of many American citizens in contempt. Americans rejected the decrees of kings more than 240 years ago, and we should continue to do so today. Only through the actions of a united Congress and the signature of a president can we honor our democracy and provide meaningful, substantive reform which is widely accepted as credible and not subject to the whims of successive executive orders.
So, what exactly should Congress do?
Having agreed upon the fact that America must do something to solve its immigration problems, the major parties need to decide upon priorities and areas of compromise.
1.  Do we want more immigration with less social services, or do we want less immigration while retaining existing social services? We need to make a decision on this. If it were up to me, IĀfd go with virtually unlimited legal travel into the United States (not necessarily as a path to citizenship, but simply permitting entry) coupled with an elimination of social benefits. It costs us nothing for people to come, and if they spend money while theyĀfre here, so much the better.
2.  Millions of undocumented residents really donĀft want nor need a path to permanent residency or citizenship. Not all of them are fleeing civil war and other mayhem. Some just simply want a job to take care of their families, and they make a lot of sacrifices to do so. A robust guest or seasonal worker program would enable primarily (though not necessarily exclusively) citizens of Latin American countries to work on farms and provide other forms of labor which they are already doing Ąü and which frankly most Americans are too soft and unwilling to do Ąü while traveling freely between the US and their home countries. Such would go a long way to solve much of the issues at hand. In crafting such legislation, Congress would want to consider how to address tax issues and perhaps establish limited social benefits to accompany that. Part of a compromise on making travel to the US easy for seasonal labor might include taking a fresh look at the question of birthright citizenship.

Sep 11, 2017, 8:58 am
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National Security. America was forever transformed on September 11, 2001. A somewhat porous southern border wasnít the end of the world before then, even if it was a political football of sorts. Now with ever heightening concern over international terrorism, America needs to do something to enable fluid border crossings while protecting the nation against those who would exploit our generosity and weaknesses to do us harm.
Cost of Social Services. This is truly one of the greatest complications to the entire immigration issue. Americaís National Debt is fast approaching 20 TRILLION dollars! Itís one thing if new immigrants are completely self-supporting and do not add to the ever expanding cost and scope of social services. Itís another if the majority of immigrants are immediately added to the welfare rolls.
Integration. There was a time when immigrants from around the world arrived on Americaís shores and almost immediately bled red, white, and blue. Regardless of national origin, they rallied behind the flag of their newly adopted home country. They worked hard to master the English language if it was not their native tongue. They raised their children to love America and to appreciate the blessings of living here. The last thing on their minds was transforming America into the nations they had chosen to leave behind. While this is still true of a great many immigrants in the 21st century, it is no longer universally true. And concern over integration plays a role in shaping peopleís views and concerns about immigration.
Politics. When one combines all of the above, politicians of the respective parties canít help but look out for their own personal self-interest in terms of their individual careers as well as the self-interest of the parties themselves. Speaking broadly, Democrats see political value in admitting large numbers of poor immigrants who become immediate dependents of the state and subsequent lifetime Democrat voters to keep the gravy train coming. Many Democrats may not appreciate phrasing it just that way, reasonably arguing that their views are far more complex and nuanced than that, but one must admit that that is roughly the quick perception Americans have of it. Speaking broadly, Republicans see political value in curbing large numbers of poor immigrants for the exact same political reasons. Likewise they may argue that their views are far more complex and nuanced than that, but it is nevertheless the general publicís perception of things.

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The University of Arizona released a statement, saying in part “it is our goal to make education accessible to all students and lifelong learners”.