To the editor,
The Trump administration recently announced its plan to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As students who value and uphold the university's commitment to diversity and inclusion, we urge UND President Mark Kennedy to join the hundreds of university and college presidents across the nation who have declared their support of DACA and undocumented immigrant students by signing Pomona College's "Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students."
Nationally, since its inception in 2012, DACA has provided 800,000 young immigrants temporary relief from deportation and legal access to employment. DACA has significantly increased recipient earnings, allowing them to access higher education, home, and business ownership as well as expand their tax contributions to Social Security and Medicare. Researchers estimate that the end of DACA could result in a loss of $460.3 billion in GDP over the next decade; this corresponds with an estimated loss of $24.6 billion in payroll tax contributions to Social Security and Medicare.
Within North Dakota, there have been 98 DACA recipients. Researchers estimate that the end of DACA could cost the state's economy $8.6 million in annual GDP.
Morally, numbers shouldn't matter. According to UND's Diversity Mission Statement, "all must be valued for the richness their different cultures, heritages, perspectives, and ideas bring to the community." In order for people of different cultures to be part of ours and other academic communities, they must first have the ability to access higher education.
DACA is one program that has helped immigrant students to gain and maintain such access. When these students have assured access to American universities and colleges, we gain access to their insights and perspectives to the enrichment of our discussion, scholarship, and research.
The addition of President Kennedy's signature to Pomona College's "Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students" would signify that the University of North Dakota truly seeks to be a leader and champion of diversity in this state.
Note: Devine is president of The Third Wave, a feminist organization at UND.