This week’s Pizza & Politics discussion focused on DACA and the recent changes proposed by the Trump Administration.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, was an executive order signed by President Obama in 2012 that shielded undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children from deportation. The program provides opportunities for higher education and work opportunities but does not provide a path to citizenship in the U.S.
To qualify for DACA, undocumented immigrants had to meet a multitude of requirements including age restrictions, criminal record restrictions and continuous residency in the US as of June 15, 2012. Applicants were also required to be in school or have graduated with a high school diploma or its equivalent as of June 15, 2012, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Services.
Students were asked whether they thought the requirements should be more or less inclusive. Many students felt that the requirements were fair, but they believe there should a path to citizenship available. Others felt that some requirements were potentially out of children’s hands, like that of continuous residency, and suggested changes to the leniency of several of the requirements.
The question of providing a path to citizenship raised several more questions including whether or not providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would increase the number of people entering the U.S. illegally. Some felt that it would increase the numbers because it would provide an incentive for entering the U.S. illegally while others felt that in some cases people illegally entering the U.S. were not concerned with citizenship because their situation was dire enough to risk being undocumented.
However, in terms of DACA, providing a path to citizenship would not increase the number of eligible undocumented immigrants because the requirements included an end date of eligibility. Meaning that although not all those who qualify are registered as participants in DACA, no more people can now become eligible.
Many students agreed that the process of gaining citizenship or legal residency in the U.S. should be improved and streamlined, however, several agreed that entering the U.S. illegally should not be rewarded with an obstacle-free path to legal residency.
As with all Pizza & Politics, the goal is to have an educational discussion and hopefully leave with a better understanding of the topic discussed.
Pizza & Politics is held every Wednesday at noon in the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service located in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.