Why we should stop arguing DACA under capitalist ideals

by Cassidy McCombs, Staff Writer

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is the most talked about story in America. DACA was implemented in 2012 and allows certain immigrants — specifically young undocumented adults brought here as children — to legally work and attend school.  San Diego, a city that was once part of Mexico and prides itself on a diverse community, is home to an abundance of people directly affected by Trump’s decision to end DACA.

California has been supporting affordable education opportunities regardless of immigrant status since 2001, when AB 540 was instated. AB 540 allows students who attended California schools and received a high school diploma to pay resident tuition fees at state universities. The issue of educating all Americans has been a priority in California long before DACA was established. By law, undocumented students have a right to an education from Kindergarten to 12th grade. While a college education may not be a right, it is a growing necessity. According to the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, there are about 40,000 DACA recipients in San Diego. It is not just a bill affecting the lives of others.

An argument against ending DACA that has flooded social media is the effect the loss of these individuals will have on the U.S. economy. Educating all people in the U.S. is vital to their human rights beyond their contributions to the workforce. To argue in support of DACA through an economic lense is dehumanizing. DACA recipients alongside other immigrants would have more drive to contribute to society if their ability to stay in the United States was not threatened by their way of arrival. There are about 800,000 people protected under DACA according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Human lives are more important than numbers and jobs. Families. Friends. Partners. Lives are affected by DACA, not just the economy. It is important for students at SDSU to humanize the situation at hand and be proactive with their college community.

It is one thing to look at the number of DACA participants and be concerned about the economy, but looking at the faces of students walking SDSU hallways, is heartbreaking. It is a privilege to feel safe walking on campus and to feel a sense of permanence. According to the Migration Policy Institute, a good amount of DACA students, about 30,000, call San Diego home. They crossed the border at a young age, and do not know anything different. They are, despite lack of official papers, American. Students at SDSU who aren’t from San Diego have a home they know and love, they miss their friends and family beyond their campus life. DACA students do not have another home, they have a place their family is from, but they grew up in the U.S.. A lot of them have never left the country due to immigration regulations, unlike a lot of other students who have had family vacations or studied abroad. Leaving America is leaving the only place they physically know.

While DACA may not affect someone directly, it affects what the Constitution stands for. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is something that this country stands behind, and is a human right. Morality knows no ethnicity, culture or borders. Arguing DACA for the sake of the economy misses the larger issue of basic human rights.

It promotes capitalism over equality.

Looking at immigrants as good or bad, naming them as criminals rather than people, is an issue in and of itself. It is dehumanizing. As a resident in San Diego, and a student at SDSU, look at the peers on campus rather than what the media represents as a good and a bad immigrant. No one is good or bad, people are human. And no human being is illegal.