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viewpoint

SCIA’s response to Viewpoint article

| Tuesday, August 28, 2018

As members and supporters of the Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy (SCIA), we are committed to fostering awareness and education on the subject of immigration. Thus, we felt the need to respond to the claims that were made. The purpose of this essay is not to try to change Mr. Murphy’s opinion on immigration — we know that attempting to do so would be naive and futile. Rather, our response is meant to add much needed context surrounding the issues that the article mentioned and clarify the manipulated statistics, of which there are many. Such abhorrent claims and repeated use of “illegal alien” are often used as a hate-mongering and ad hominem attacks against undocumented immigrants in order to deprive them of their humanity. SCIA simply could not let these careless arguments remain unaddressed.

As a senior at a prestigious university, we would hope that Mr. Murphy knows better than to cherry-pick data in order to try and defend his arguments. Moreover, it is incredibly disappointing that such a hostile and sloppy article was written by the leader of a student group on campus that was created to be an inclusive space for a marginalized group — on the first week of school, nonetheless. We understand the importance of free speech and that The Observer has the discretion to publish articles as they see fit. Sadly, this reactionary and spiteful article greeted undocumented and DACAmented Notre Dame, St. Mary’s and Holy Cross students — some of whom are part of the LGBTQIA+ community — as they returned to campus to start the academic year or were welcomed to our campus for the first time.

Military

From 2014 to 2015, under a program called Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI), DACA recipients could earn a path to citizenship by enlisting in the military and completing basic training (many who enlisted never received citizenship or any legal status). This program was started under President George W. Bush in order to recruit immigrants with foreign language and medical skills, and was later opened up to include DACA recipients by President Obama. However, the program itself was shut down, effectively halting recruiting efforts, and those who had already enlisted had to go under increased vetting that left them waiting to finish the process indefinitely.

Though DACA recipients were not explicitly targeted by this action, they were left with little recourse because they cannot enlist in the military in another way due to their lack of legal status. Thus, their numbers in the military will naturally be low. When people talk about how DACA recipients are in the military, they are not saying there is an overwhelming presence. Instead, it is simply saying that many wish to enlist, but they simply cannot. Ironically, however, like their U.S. citizen and permanent legal resident peers, young men with DACA who are between the ages of 18 and 26 must register for the selective service. Failing to do so would endanger any chance they might potentially have regarding citizenship. 

Education

With respect to education, Mr. Murphy again makes several unfounded claims. Yes, it is true that as of November 2017 only 5 percent of DACA recipients had a college degree, which is lower than the national U.S. average. However, Mr. Murphy fails to take several critical factors into consideration as to why that number is so low. Firstly, in the statistic he used, he failed to cite that the number of DACA recipients that are currently enrolled in colleges is similar to U.S. adults  — 18 and 20 percents, respectively. Mr. Murphy believes that, “it would be appropriate if the “Fake News” media stopped acting like their deportation is getting in the way of them finally earning that Ph.D. (or a high school diploma for that matter).” Aside from being a malicious and snide comment, it completely disregards the amount of hurdles that undocumented students face when completing an education even with the benefit of deferred status. Before the creation of DACA, it was almost impossible for undocumented immigrants to obtain a college degree since they could not apply, and continue to be ineligible for federal financial aid to this day. In many states, they do not qualify for state financial aid, furthermore, at many public universities and colleges, they do not qualify for in-state tuition (even if they have lived in that state for most of their lives) and must pay exorbitant tuition because of out-of-state and international rates — all with few viable options for scholarships because of citizenship or residency requirements. At the graduate level, Masters and PhD programs have work requirements; for those without work authorization, like DREAMers before DACA, those requirements are impediments to continuing their higher education. Some institutions will simply not accept DREAMer applicants based on their immigration status — Notre Dame itself did not start accepting undocumented or DACAmented students until 2013 (class of 2018). Pretending that deportation and lack of legal status does not hinder DREAMers’ access to education is a dangerously deceptive statement.

Lastly, Mr. Murphy presents information on high school dropout rates among DACA recipients that overlook the educational eligibility requirements for DACA listed on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, which require that applicants be currently enrolled in school; have a high school diploma; an equivalent to the latter, such as a GED certificate; or be in the military. So, while not every DACA recipient is a valedictorian, high school dropouts, unless they return to school, do not qualify for DACA.

Crime

It is a well-established fact that immigrants commit less crimes than American citizens, regardless of immigration status. Mr. Murphy circumventive use of statistics and claims by John Lott may have you convinced otherwise. Using Arizona’s incarceration rates as his evidence made our job much easier when you consider Arizona’s terrible record with criminal justice and racial profiling. Even the CATO Institute found Lott’s data to be flawed (forgive our use of linking to an article that also repeatedly uses “illegal alien”) because Lott’s methodology combines undocumented immigrants with legal immigrants who have been deported — as well as U.S. citizens who have been mistakenly deported.

Furthermore, USCIS sets strict guidelines as to what can disqualify someone from obtaining or renewing their DACA. Such disqualifications include a felony, major misdemeanor or three smaller misdemeanors. If we are defining a DREAMer as an undocumented immigrant who holds DACA, a person who commits all of the crimes that Mr. Murphy claims young undocumented people perpetrate, then they are no longer a DREAMer, as their DACA status would be revoked. It is also important that we understand that some of the “crimes” that DREAMers (and undocumented immigrants in general) might commit are things that for U.S. citizens would be shamed for, but not heavily reprimanded, especially if it was a first offense. Underage drinking and traffic violations (e.g. driving without a license, having a broken tail light, running a red light) are just some of the “crimes” that can disqualify someone from obtaining DACA. Are those examples irresponsible acts? Yes. But do they alone constitute what many would consider “criminal” when talking about an American citizen? We would hope not, otherwise America’s already exorbitant prison population (25 percent of the world’s we may remind you) would only exponentially rise. These guidelines as to what qualifies as a crime for DACA recipients can also explain why the number of incarcerated undocumented immigrants is so high.

Economic Impact

In terms of the economic impact, Mr. Murphy makes the argument that the presence of DREAMers is detrimental to the American economy. According to him, DREAMers are low-skilled workers who drive wages down. He effectively pits them against working-class Americans who are also vulnerable economically, but the manner in which he supports this claim is also circumventive. The notion that immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, decrease GDP has been dispelled time and time again by economists who have warned about the negative consequences of deporting DREAMers (here is another study by the CATO Institute that recognizes the possible adverse effects of deporting undocumented immigrants).

Of course, if you take bodies out of the economy, the GDP per capita will rise, because much of the economic activity that would be lost due to mass deportations is not measured by GDP. Numbers have meaning. Furthermore, the positions that many undocumented immigrants hold are considered “unskilled.” Thus, even if undocumented immigrants did not seek these jobs, they would not necessarily be high-paying. Mr. Murphy, as concerned as he is about the vulnerable working class, should consider changing the conversation about what “unskilled” labor means rather than attacking undocumented immigrants.

English Literacy

Mr. Murphy’s source for his corresponding section on English literacy, the Center for Immigration Studies, has been identified as an anti-immigrant hate group. We’ll leave it at that.

Conclusion

While we understand that people have different opinions on this campus, what Mr. Murphy wrote, was harmful, reckless and cruel. Mr. Murphy begins his op-ed by ridiculing the idea that undocumented people contribute positively to our society and can include valedictorians, soldiers and successful business executives. He claims that few of those here without documents even have the intellectual capacity, moral character or patriotic loyalty to achieve these accomplishments. It is absurd, he claims, to think that DACA recipients would graduate with honors from elite schools like Notre Dame and foolish to think they merit becoming U.S. citizens. He defends these wild claims with inaccurate statistics. Ironically, he ends by stating that he wants a fair debate on the issue, one that is, “grounded in evidence and the truth, not false narratives and fanciful claims.”

To the Notre Dame audience, let us remember that all undocumented immigrants, not just the DREAMers, are more than facts and statistics. They are, first and foremost, human beings who came to America seeking better opportunities and better life, much like Mr. Murphy’s presumably Irish ancestors. It is imperative that we recognize our individual ancestry and America’s bloodshed history when speaking of current undocumented immigrants, some of whom who are fleeing violence and persecution in their native countries.

To undocumented students at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, and Holy Cross, SCIA stands with you. We hope that you find your home here and do not let negative arguments get you down. SCIA welcomes those of all backgrounds regardless of sex, race, gender, color, sexual orientation, national origin and immigration status. We hope that you find your home in SCIA.

In Notre Dame,

Karla Burgos-Morón

SCIA president, senior

Libertad Heredia

senior

Aug. 27

Elizabeth Boyle

junior

Margaret FitzGerald

senior

Odalis Gonzalez

sophomore

Sarah Guinan

class of 2018

Melissa Pech

senior

Maria Sierra Cáceres

senior

Aniela Tyksinski

class of 2017

Iliana Contreras

senior

Kassandra Perez

Amanda Varela

class of 2015

Augusto Rocha Ramirez

Department of History

Tatiana Botero

professor

Steven Fisher

class of 2016

Karen Gilmore

class of 2016

Rudy Ramos

class of 2020

Xitlaly Estrada

class of 2017

Jessica Pedroza

class of 17

Allison Hubbard

senior

Braden Kimmel

junior

Kathleen Ryan

senior

Valerie Alonzo

class of 1996

Natasha Reifenberg

class of 2018

Celine Castillo

sophomore

Rocio Monreal Avina

sophomore

Ana Rodelas

class of 2016

Gargi Purohit

senior

Varishth Baluckram

class of 2018

Rathin Kacham

senior

Liam Maher

class of 2018

Jazmin Flete

junior

Vanessa Lozano

senior

Matthew Chamberlain

senior

Angela Konkey

class of 1985

Teresa Menchaca Godinez

class of 1992

Verónica Rosas Fernandez

class of 1998

Emma Beaudoin

SMC junior

Hailey Fulwider

senior

Fatima Montez

class of 2016

Elizabeth Jakubowski

senior

Cesar Estrada

class of 2017

Phoebe Natale

class of 2018

Andrés Walliser Wejebe

sophomore

Daniel Bland

class of 2018

Jessica Gomez

class of 2017

Manue Marroquin

senior

Jake Chang

junior

Isaías Guerrero

class of 2016

Gregory Serapio-García

senior

Nicholas Furnari

class of 2018

Grace Garvey

senior

Bianca Gaytan-Burrell

class of 1998

Adam Ramos

class of 2018

Emilia McManusb

junior

Javier Rivera-Gonzalez

sophomore

Nylce Prada Myers

class of 1987

Amber Grimmer

junior

Jacqui Aguirre

senior

Teresa R. Brickey

SMC senior

DeJorie Monroe

class of 2016

Jade Martinez

senior

Fritz Schemel

Brynna Conway

class of 2018

Daniela Cabada

senior

Arwa Mohammad

senior

Sarah Morris

senior

Jorge Garcia Lozano

sophomore

Jack Ryan

junior

Alexis Green

senior

Johannah Ward

Cassidy Leyendecker

class of 2017

Tyrel London

senior

Victoria Chandler

SMC senior

Savanna Morgan

junior

Mads Mikkelsen

sophomore

Eleanor Gamble

sophomore

Angela Rogers

junior

Jake Maginn

class of 2018

Mark Gianfalla

class of 2015

Teresa Kennedy

class of 2016

Jenna Ahn

class of 2014

Matt Hing

class of 2015

Maddie McKenna

class of 2018

Christina Del Greco

senior

Dania Abdul Rahman

Meredith Soward

senior

Julio Salazar Alumnus

class of 2018

Adolfo Mora

sophomore

Sean McFeely

senior

Jack Grogan

senior

Mayra Almeida-Trejo

class of 2015

Megh Santella

class of 2018

Alejandro Claure De La Zerda

sophomore

Emily Abramczyk

senior

Christian Abraham

junior

Caroline Sampson

class of 2018

Naana Ocran

junior

Sara Kellenberg

senior

Joel Castro

junior

Nicholas Ottone

junior

Fernando Lozano

class of 2014

Gabrielle Rogoff

class of 2017

Jesús Mendoza Downey

class of 2016

Brian Gatter

junior

Samuel Jackson

junior

Matthew Magiera

Jess Pulido

Sydney Porter

junior

Katie Hieatt

junior

Lionel M. Jensen

Abby Ferguson

senior

Akua Agyei-Boateng

Malia Marshall

James Zwierzynski

senior

Keven Cheung

senior

Ann Moran

junior

Veronica Kalwajtys

junior

Kristen Kennelly

class of 2017

Julianna Vidales

class of 2018

Monica Ochoa

class of 2018

Tess Ngochi

sophomore

Gabriella Marines-Chio

Ashtin Ballard

Franea Arceo

junior

Michelle Saucedo

class of 2010

Amy Mansfield

senior

Dearbhla Fay

class of 2017

Celeste Villa-Rangel

class of 2016

Karen Graubart

Associate Professor

Lito Morona

sophomore

Candace Thomas

class of 2017

Maria McKenna

faculty

Claudia Francis

Flora Tang

class of 2018

Brian Collier

faculty

Sarah McKibben

Associate Professor

Logan Bridge

class of 2017

Rebecca Ward

sophomore

Chissa Rivaldi

PhD student

Valerie Sayers

professor

Caila Lindsey

junior

Emilt Garrett

class of 2018

Susan Harris

Professor

Aaron Bode

class of 2017

Noe Pliego

graduate student

Jairo Campuzano-Hoyos

Mary Celeste Kearney

Ellanor Patton

sophomore

Christine Venter

Catherine Perl

PhD Student

Elizabeth Hascher

class of 2018

Maura Monahan

class of 2017

Mary Patano

class of 2017

Ian Van Dyke

Ph.D. Student

Cecilia Serna

class of 1983

Victoria Velasquez

class of 2017

Abby Wolfe

sophomore

Annette Cai

senior

Alex Bakeis

sophomore

Jessica Shumake

Assistant Professor

Jung Hyun Lee

senior

Seok Hee (Jenny) Jang

senior

Katherine Baltes

class of 2017

Cecilia Lucero

class of 1984

Eve Kelly

John Duffy

Michael Detlefsen

faculty

Leonor Wangensteen

class of 2003

Anne Marie Wolf

class of 1989

Christine Becker

Associate Professor

Dani Green

PhD Candidate

Jennifer Hieatt

class of 1996

Robert Myak

class of 2017

Darlene Hampton

Eric Love

César Moreno

senior

Coleman Blakely

senior

Mauna Dasari

PhD candidate

Elyse Boldt

sophomore

Dan Graff

professor

Lindsay McCray

junior

Julia Erdlen

class of 2018

Peter Holland

Sonja Mapes

faculty

Bailey Kendall

senior

David Phillips

sophomore

Richard Sheehan

professor

Augustine Pasin

sophomore

Steven Hieatt

class of 1996

Matt Schoenbauer

junior

Ariana Zlioba

class of 2018

Sarah McGough

class of 2014

Caitlin Smith Oyekole

Jacob Zwart

class of 2017

Gwen McCain

junior

Zack Jones

class of 2018

Pamela Bilo Thomas

sophomore

Carlos Covarrubias

class of 2018

Samantha Berley

senior

Jeremy Davidheiser

PhD Candidate

Jinelfry Rodriguez

senior

Marisel Moreno

Faculty

Daniel Kim

senior

Beth Klein

Staff

Desiree San Martin

class of 2016

Prathm Juneja

senior

Lucas Garcia

class of 2015

Zoë Usowski

senior

Jackie O’Brien

junior

Aaron Harmaty

Mariana Candido

Elizabeth Baker

Charles Barbour

Karen Richman

Patrick Aimone

freshman

Morgan Benson

class of 2014

Dan Fischer

PhD Student

Rachel Wallace

class of 2017

Patrick Caslin

sophomore

Connor Hayes

class of 2016

Marisa Limon

class of 1999

Melissa Gutierrez Lopez

class of 2018

Monica Montañez

class of 2008

Willian De Faria

sophomore

Philip Sakimoto

Casey Baker

class of 2017

Emily Beaudoin

class of 2017

Aya Nagai

junior

Ale Orellana Muniz

junior

Emily Smith

PhD Student

Maria Aguillon De La Maza

junior

Maria Cristina Gonzalez

class of 1989

Laura Ortiz-Mercado

PhD Student

Lauren Lopez

class of 2009

Kevin Gallin

class of 2010

José Alfredo Gonzalez

class of 2008

Linde Hoffman

junior

Trey Murphy

senior

Emma Scheibel

junior

Carlos Grosso Carlos Grosso

senior

Olivia De Sonne Ammaccapane

senior

Erin Williams

senior

Isabella Delgado-Castillo

junior

James Murphy

sophomore

James L. Weitzel

Thomson Guster

class of 2017

Kiera Stubbs

senior

Kenta Sachen

sophomore

Samuel Pérez-Ayala

Andrea Ruiz

sophomore

Julia Cogan

junior

Kaya Lawrence

sophomore

Kara Hughes

class of 2020

Nicole Winsor

Anton Povzner

grad student

Sean McMahon

senior

Ricardo J. Rios

class of 1995

Maria Kenesey

senior

Amanda Castañeda

class of 2017

Carolina Ochoa

class of 2018

Sabrina Victor

senior

Patrick McCabe

sophomore

Madeline Kelly

senior

Brendan Markey

sophomore

Sheila Gregory

sophomore

Joao Santos

Erin Hiestand

David Stewart

senior

Carson Myers

sophomore

Warren Chatwin

senior

Patricia Quintana-Van Horne

class of 1986

Veronica Guerrero

class of 2015

Marie Sepeta

class of 1983

Raymond Sepeta

class of 1976

Suzanna Krivulskaya

Ph.D. Candidate

Rachel Hanks

Roxana Rodriguez

class of 2018

Anne Maguire

Mary Szromba

junior

Matthew Aubourg

sophomore

Agustin Sanjuan-Castellano

senior

Veronica Flores

class of 1997

Caroline Wight

class of 2004

MacKenzie Isaac

junior

Cindy Lee

class of 2018

Iheanyi Ekechukwu

class of 2014

Cecily Castillo

junior

Camila Gonzalez

junior

Elizabeth Lawson Zapf

class of 1986

Samantha Amezquita

sophomore

Emma Strouse

Abby Stokes

sophomore

Martin Tracey

class of 1990

Gwendolyn Sipos Butler

Gabriella Garcia

sophomore

Georges Enderle

Professor

Carlos Murillo

sophomore

Andrea Topash-Rios

John Stankovich

senior

Maria Herrera

junior

Ashley Hovorka

SMC senior

Alex Montoya

class of 1996

María Isabel Mendoza

junior

Casey Valentine

class of 2018

Alex Rice

class of 2016

Patricia Gutierrez

junior

Grace Weissend

class of 2018

Dakota Rivers

sophomore

Kelly Heiniger

class of 2018

Alejandro Garcia

class of 2005

Theodore Lopez

sophomore

Eric Kim

junior

Yesenia Aydt

class of 2001

Alyssa Cook

Tony Do

senior

Hye Sim Chung

Stephen Hayes

class of 1979

Sonia Urquidi

class of 2017

Joanna Garcia

class of 2002

Saury Lara Chalas

senior

Valerie Caamaño-Pichardo

senior

Julia Le

class of 2017

Sarah Snider

Salonee Seecharan

class of 2018

Margaret Meserve

Haley Levinsky

sophomore

Raquel Salinas

class of 1994

Gail Bederman

Associate Professor

Sarah Cruz

class of 2018

Anita Verdugo Tarango

class of 1993

Father Joe Corpora, C.S.C.

John Fernandez

class of 1998

Katie (Clark) McNerney

class of 1989

Rachel Kubiak

senior

Elisabeth Muk

class of 2018

Philippe Collon

Sophia Costanzo

senior

Kevin Perez

senior

Yanik Ariste

Alexis Magana

senior

Ian Salzman

junior

Kevin Hans Waitkuweit

Alejandra Osorio,

Ana Del Valle

sophomore

Tia Wilson

sophomore

Isel Otero Torres

Julianna Ortiz

junior

Liz Hernandez

class of 1995

Latino Student Alliance

Alex Jensen

Zoe Kourajian

class of 2016

Yoselin Martinez Lauriano

frehman

Steven Jessen-Howard

class of 2018

Silvia Camara

senior

Jahaziel Valenzo

junior

Christian McWilliam

class of 2017

Maria Ventura

junior

 

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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