Editorial: Iowa State, America needs Dreamers


HannahJoy NcNeal/Iowa State Daily

Students gather in the Multicultural Center to make signs for the Hoodies and Hijabs and Academics United Protest Feb. 8. The protests will take place at the Agora Feb. 9.

Editorial Board

Just one week ago, the Trump administration announced they would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. And like many leaders in our community and around the nation, the ISD Editorial Board believes this is a grave mistake.

The DACA program was started in 2012 and allowed those brought to the country illegally by their parents to get a temporary reprieve from deportation, permitting them to work, study and obtain driver’s licenses, according to NPR. There are about 800,000 DACA recipients and the decision to end DACA could cost the United States $280 million and 700,000 jobs, according to Fortune.

Now, Congress has six months to make a decision to keep DACA. Support for DACA should be obvious for two reasons.

First, immigrants are a necessary part of our economy — especially in Iowa. International migration accounts for the largest amount of growth in Iowa. From 2010 to 2015, about 7,000 people left Iowa and 29,000 international immigrants entered the state. If it weren’t for this number, it’s likely the state would be seeing a decline. And as the state continues to age, immigrants will be even more necessary to replace those retiring.

Second, and most importantly, this affects 800,000 people. While Dreamers are lawfully allowed to be in the United States, they are not U.S. citizens — but we venture to say they are still Americans. They buy groceries at our stores, purchase cars at our dealerships, work in our businesses, provide value to our universities and invest in our housing. How can you turn your back on those fellow Americans?

Dr. Liz Mendez-Shannon, project director for Hispanic/Latinx Affairs in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, commented on Trump’s decision via email to the Daily.

“What many view as normal, others dream for,” Mendez-Shannon said. “Learning about this community and how it is impacted teaches us about bravery and resilience. It is our duty to be engaged in our campus community and with the privilege to empower, education and connect, we can help elevate these voices in our campus community.”

We echo what Interim President Ben Allen said in his statement. Dreamers are necessary and have benefited our campus. He said the university is working through its “national higher education associations to advocate for a legislative solution that promotes stability for individuals eligible through DACA.”

But we can’t rely solely on the university and the DACA recipients to call for support of the program. This decision affects all of us. Contact your representatives and tell them they should fight to keep the program alive.