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Ensign, Students React to DACA

Zita Petrahai ’18, Managing Editor

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In an email sent out to the Dickinson community, President Ensign stated she is “saddened by the announcement” that President Donald Trump has officially ordered an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The program was originally created in 2012 by former President Barack Obama to protect undocumented immigrants who entered the United States during childhood from deportation.

In the Tuesday, September 5 email, Ensign also urged the community to “convince Congress that extending immigration protection to this important part of the American community is critical to our society.” Ensign also stressed that no admissions policy would change as a result of President Trump’s decision and that Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers “do not now, nor will they, inquire about a student’s immigration status.”

In the last paragraph of her email, Ensign also drew a connection between Dreamers, immigrants brought to the United States during childhood, and legal American citizens, saying; Dreamers “have grown up as Americans of foreign ancestry – like almost all of the rest of us – and this is their home, the place where they – like the rest of us – are building their future.”

Kevin Ssonko ’20, thought Congress should do more to“honor the meaning of the American experiment to spread freedom, justice and equality,” especially in the context of DACA. “The decision by the President represents not only the [i]nhumane extension of presidential power but the institutional power of white supremacy to decide the destinies of the vulnerable,” Ssonko maintained. “I hope the time will come when the President and his administration will come

See DACA, page 3

to realize that their legacy will be judged ultimately in the way they treat the most vulnerable rather than their ability to serve the interests of the powerful.”

Similar to Ssonko, Thomas Connell ’20, believed President Trump’s order had deeper historical significance.

“This isn’t just Trump trying to get back at Obama or the Democrats, this goes back way deeper into the white supremacist roots of the United States, which Trump has fully represented and let run his administration,” he claimed.

Nadia Shahab Diaz ’21, whose parents are immigrants, believes the United States needs to be accepting of immigrants in order to be a “true melting pot of cultures.”

“I wholeheartedly agree with President Ensign’s emphasis on the value of international and diverse perspectives in order to further a community. The United States prides itself on being a melting pot of cultures… that requires inclusivity, learning and diversity in experience and perspective,” she stated.

According to Jillian Clark ’19, in some parts of the country, the lack of immigrant workforce is already slowing down the economy.

“I was really disappointed in President Trump’s decision. I think it’s a bad economic move. Where I’m from…we saw a lot of economic depression this summer because of the lack of immigrants [who were] not able to come and work. I’m sure that we’ll see setbacks economy wise,” she claimed.

Grant Shearer ’19, President of the Dickinson College Republicans, agrees that the United States is “a nation of immigrants,” but he believes keeping the law is crucial.

“[The United States] is also a nation of laws. Repealing Obama’s DACA executive order puts the pressure on Congress to come up with a real legislative solution on how to handle a group of younger people who are here illegally to no fault of their own,” Shearer stated.

Similar to Shearer, Jackie Joyce ’19 also looks to Congress to come up with a new solution.

“It is heart wrenching to recognize the position in which Dreamers are put where they have to bear the consequences of their parents’ well-intentioned but ultimately illegal actions,” she stated. “Moving forward, I hope that Congress finds a more feasible solution to protect these young, proud Americans.”

Treasurer of Dickinson Democrats, Sam Reiersen ’19 said the College Democrats will fight for Dreamers and DACA. She also urged people to stand up for their beliefs and get involved politically.

“The Dickinson College Democrats are extremely disappointed about President Trump’s decision regarding DACA. Dreamers are Americans in every sense of the word. They grew up here, have gone to school here and now work here. We will do all that we can to defend DACA,” she said.  “It is vital now more than ever that we stand up for what’s right and get involved politically.”

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Ensign, Students React to DACA