Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Dreamers Have Been Political Pawns for Far Too Long: Castro
gvw_calmatters
By CalMatters
Published 4 years ago on
June 7, 2020

Share

While I hope the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold protection for Dreamers, I am continually mystified that we find ourselves in this predicament in the first place.

Too often, there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about who these Dreamers are. These young people were brought to the United States as children. They’ve lived here, grew up here, in some cases even served this country, yet are continually reminded they are “less than.”

portrait of Joseph Castro

Joseph I. Castro
Special to CalMatters

Soon the Supreme Court will render a verdict on the nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. This case comes at a dire time in our nation’s history. While these immigrants, sometimes referred to as “Dreamers,” should have never become political pawns to pass comprehensive immigration reform, given the current situation of fighting a pandemic, holding the lives of thousands of DACA health care workers in limbo has grown even more dangerous.

The California State University system intentionally does not collect or track a specific figure, because a student’s DACA status has no bearing on enrollment status. As a university president, I’ve worked closely with these students and employees and am proud of their impact on our communities. Throughout the CSU system we estimate nearly 10,000 DACA individuals spread across 23 campuses, including at Fresno State.

We call these folks “Dreamers” because they are both part of a holistic American dream and individuals trying to live their own American dream. Our elected representatives talk a lot about being proud of our diversity, yet they’ve refused to make a permanent and substantive investment in these individuals.

Nevertheless, Dreamers are already making a significant investment in their communities. In California alone, the estimated economic impacts of ending DACA would be an $11.6 billion dollar loss of GDP. The Cato Institute reports that deporting DACA individuals would cost nearly $93 billion in lost tax revenue and result in a reduction of $351 billion in economic growth over the next decade.

At a time when our nation is facing tremendous fiscal pressure and uncertainty, legislators should strongly consider the economic contributions Dreamers make on a daily basis – contributions toward our future economic recovery.

Longstanding Public Support for Dreamers Is Well-Documented

There should be no wonder why so many favor providing a permanent legislative solution for these young people. Last fall, 600 university presidents and I signed a letter urging Congress to provide permanent protection for Dreamers.

Longstanding public support for Dreamers is well-documented. A Fox News poll in 2017 suggested more than 8 in 10 supported a pathway to citizenship. Nearly 7 in 10 in a Washington Post-ABC News poll supported allowing individuals who arrived as children, completed high school or served in the military and had not committed a serious crime, to stay in the U.S. In another poll from Quinnipiac University, 80% of the American electorate believed that Dreamers should be allowed to stay.

In an era where nearly everything is polarizing, Dreamers are amazingly unifying. Our elected policymakers must stop playing politics with the lives of these young people. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, DACA was just one step toward providing a more permanent solution. It is beyond time to take the next step.

These are Americans in the eyes of the country. Those on my campus, as well as schools across the country, are willing and eager to earn an education and to make a positive difference for their families and in their communities. All they ask in return is for Congress and the president to not actively hinder those goals.

As the term “essential employees” is now common, Dreamers represent a sizable portion of this workforce in health care, agriculture and other vital areas. We could never afford to turn away eager and hardworking human capital, but amidst a pandemic, each Dreamer plays an even larger role.

About the Author 

Joseph I. Castro is president of Fresno State and the grandson of immigrants from Mexico, presidentjic@csufresno.edu. He wrote this commentary for CalMatters.

DON'T MISS

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

DON'T MISS

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

DON'T MISS

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

DON'T MISS

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

DON'T MISS

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

DON'T MISS

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

DON'T MISS

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

DON'T MISS

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

DON'T MISS

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

DON'T MISS

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

UP NEXT

Biden’s Embrace of Trump’s Tariffs Could Spell Trouble for His Reelection: Fareed Zakaria

UP NEXT

‘Digital Democracy’ Project Penetrates California’s Opaque Political Processes

UP NEXT

While California Politicians Skirmish Over Housing, the Shortage Keeps Growing

UP NEXT

As PG&E Bills Skyrocket, Will California Lawmakers Hold Anyone Accountable?

UP NEXT

Trustees Owe a Nationwide Superintendent Search to Fresno’s Children

UP NEXT

Taxes Are on the November Ballot in Monumental CA Showdown

UP NEXT

California Progressives Forced to Play Defense as State Faces Huge Budget Deficits

UP NEXT

CA Labor Priorities and Business ‘Job Killers’ on a Collision Course

UP NEXT

California Water Wars Continue Despite Now Healthy H20 Supply

UP NEXT

How the Saga of California’s Contentious Income-Based Utility Charge Began

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

6 hours ago

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

6 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

Local /

7 hours ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

7 hours ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

7 hours ago

Why Tortillas Sold in California May Be Forced to Add a New Ingredient

8 hours ago

Costco Tries Again at City Council for Big NW Fresno Move

9 hours ago

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

9 hours ago

Ethiopia’s Lemma Wins, Fresno’s Albertson 7th in Boston Marathon. Kenya’s Obiri Retains Women Title.

9 hours ago

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

9 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

Alright, cats and kittens, straphang onto your beanies because I’m about to lay a news flash on you that’s so whimsically wild it coul...

4 hours ago

Fresno Monopoly Edition
4 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

4 hours ago

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

4 hours ago

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

6 hours ago

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

6 hours ago

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

Local /
7 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

7 hours ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

7 hours ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend