A First-Person Perspective on the Events Surrounding the Homecoming Protests

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by a member of Dartmouth’s DACA community, who requested anonymity to prevent potentially negative response to his opinions.

A few days before homecoming and the running of the fire, a series of red and white posters with clear-cut demands from the administration popped up around campus. The authors of these demands identified themselves as members of the undocumented/DACA community on our campus. The group passionately demanded the following points from the administration, while shaming President Hanlon’s response to DACA being rescinded and future actions.

As a member of the DACA community, I find that these individuals have unintentionally forgotten their roots and the complexity of our situation. We need to remember we are neither from here nor from there, no matter the age we came to the United States. While I in no way wish to undermine the activists’ efforts and activism as a whole, the way this protest went about, along with the written demands, had visible flaws that I feel need to be acknowledged.

Here I will be quoting and expressing my opinion based on some of the demands:

  1. “Declare, along with safety and security, that Dartmouth will not cooperate with immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) in localizing and detaining students.”

This demand seems out of place, keeping in mind that when DACA was rescinded, the College’s email response was extremely appropriate and sensitive to the situation. In this email sent out to the entire campus, President Hanlon’s words were of support and grievance for the loss of the program and how its recipients would be affected. Hanlon’s response began with “I am deeply disappointed…” in President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA. He followed with reinforcing his and the College’s support for the students. The next line has been confusing for some in the community and outside of it: “…We will do everything in our power, within the bounds of the law, to support these members of our campus community.” The College will not hand out information to any government agency, within the bounds of the law. However, neither President Hanlon, the administration, nor SNS officers will stand in the way of a court-ordered warrant. Conversely, if ICE were to show up demanding information of students on this campus, with no warrant, the College would not freely hand it out. Hanlon’s response was accurate and enforced actions he could take within the bounds of the law.

  1. “Release or create an action plan on what the College will do in case any of its students are persecuted under deportation orders while on campus.”

This point goes back to the previous idea of “within the bounds of the law.” If a student has a deportation order and is on campus, there is a limit on how much action the College can take to protect the student. Having a deportation order that is followed by a warrant cannot be stopped or ignored. SNS officers are not going to physically prevent ICE from coming onto campus with a warrant. It is the law. And while for many of us, it seems like the law does not include us because we are not fully part of society, this does not mean we can ignore them or rebel against them. There are dozens of way to deal with our situation lawfully and with activism – not by rebellion.

Dartmouth is a school that cares and has the economic capacity to do their best in this scenario. One has to take the initiative to talk to the college in case of emergency; they will have our backs, it’s been clear from the beginning. If they wouldn’t they would not have accepted us or considered us as candidates for this big green family.  Family means to care.

  1. “Reduce any undocumented immigrants’ student contributions to $0 and provide those funds through financial aid (Not loans).”

We are not people that seek handouts from anyone. We are people who have to work harder and more than others to survive. Life is not about getting anything handed out to us. Dartmouth College is a private entity that meets 100% financial aid, and for our community, this means almost a full ride through scholarships and non-government loans. Taking out Dartmouth loans ameliorates the overall cost of attendance. Thus, many students with extreme financial problems will get close to full rides. We also have the ability to work and establish our own income.

If you have DACA, you have a legal work permit that permits you to work in the United Satets. Student contributions vary from student to student, but for our community, the amount is not so high as to impede learning. What if you can’t pay because of new circumstances that have popped up? Well, we are grateful that Dartmouth offers institutional loans that are better than government loans, which we know we do not qualify for. Many banks, institutions and the government do not give loans out to undocumented/DACA students; this college has their own loans and a payback program that is workable. We are getting an education of a lifetime for a fraction of what other students pay or take out in actual government loans.

A yearly education in Dartmouth surpasses $70,000 a year. If, over the course of your time here, you cannot work to pay or minimize the student contribution section or if you have a problem taking out loans to cover them, then that is a selfish act because the resources are there and the comparison of 4 years of institution loans to cover student contribution to $70,000 a year is a noticeable one. Be humble, not greedy. We do not want citizens of this country to think we are freeloaders seeking what they cannot. Many remain in debt long after their college years.

  1. “Provide funds for legal resources for undocumented students and their families. It is unjust to believe that a student is able to perform while they or their families are under the threat of deportation.”

From as long as I’ve been part of this Dartmouth community, I have seen the College’s dedication to the undocumented/DACA community, providing multiple sessions with lawyers through the OVIS offices, where all questions are acceptable and people like Susan Collins can provide with more information on what lies ahead and what can be done. Financial aid could also work with you if extraneous times have caused a strain in your economic powers. People understand we are all humans, but we have to be proactive and ask what resources are available; we cannot just sit and demand things as if it is our God-given right. I understand that our community is low-income, struggling, and hardworking. It is hard to function in the shadows. It is okay to be scared, but no matter what, we keep going. We maintain the high citizenship we hold to uphold the laws for one-day things will be different. Dartmouth cares, and they will fight for us, but not if we treat them with negativity.

  1. “Provide sensitivity training for staff and faculty on undocumented students’ rights and access to resources.”

What are undocumented students’ rights? This country holds liberties and rights for all its people no matter their immigration status. The bill of rights applies to us, due process applies to us, and the law applies to us, within limits. It is our duty to know these rights and to put them to action if necessary. The staff and faculty of the College are adults, professionals, and many are parents and/or immigrants. If there is a clear-cut violation coming from a staff or faculty member that fall in the lines of inappropriate and illegal, then this can be taken up to the College, people you trust, and even police if the situation demands.

  1. “Prohibit and condemn hateful language and threats. Reporting students to immigration agencies should result in disciplinary actions.”

While this is an important topic because there are people out there who fundamentally disagree with a pro-immigrant rhetoric, it is important to not condemn the entire institution for the actions of a few. Dartmouth has instilled in its values and policies, as well as U.S law, that there are consequences for racism and hatred based on race, gender, ethnicity, and so on. There is no need to blame the institution and demand a condemnation. While this point is not as controversial as others mentioned, it should have gone under the scrutiny of whether or not the way it was stated and released actually was impactful.

  1. “Pressure the Dartmouth Coach to alter routes to avoid the 100-mile radius of the border.”

According to the ACLU’s 100-mile border zone map, Hanover, NH, and the surrounding area are within the border zone. There’s nothing the Dartmouth Coach can physically do to change the routes. For that, the border zone would need to be changed. While I completely believe the zone is not a safe space for the community, this demand has no real basis as it simply cannot be addressed. This point just seems out of the question, and its incendiary tone just creates tension over an unchangeable thing.

  1. “Our community should be able to travel to and from campus without fear of deportation/detainment. Make transparent resources detailing the policies of bus companies and provide secure travel routes.”

This demand goes back to the previous point that geography cannot be changed. We cannot move the border, the routes, or have a safe way to travel just because of the geographical position and the ways laws work. There simply is no safety, and the College cannot do anything about it. The fear of deportation/detention is a fear that we all carry without from the moment we step onto this soil. That fear has not gone away, and it will not go away for a while, and for many of us, while DACA has been rescinded, the work permits and deferred action continues into the future for many. DACA has strong support when it comes to the American population; they view us positively, as hard-working and true Americans. But those that do not support us believe we are freeloaders, burdens on the government, taking advantage of programs other Americans cannot access. While we know that is not the case, we always have to work hard to get what we want or need. So let’s not give those with negative views a basis for their beliefs by making outlandish claims and demands that undermine who we really are.

  1. “”Within the bounds of the law” is meaningless when the law is the problem. Stand up for your community.”

This doesn’t make sense. Yes, the law does not favor us, and there are people who do not see why immigrants leave their countries. However, what is the goal of this? The College is not going to rebel against US law. There are thousands of people who depend on this college, including this community. For some, the law needs to change and a chance should be given out for those who have been living here and do not have a criminal record. But laws are laws; they cannot just be thrown out the window. Dartmouth College and President Hanlon have shown consistent support from all sides, lobbying congress and politicians, bringing lawyers to campus, creating separate funds for the cost of DACA, and resources that range from mental, physical and emotional health.

 

In conclusion, this community needs to be grateful and humble that public education is available to all children, no matter their immigration status. Our parents took a chance to give us a better future. Because of public education, we were able to succeed in our primary years and are currently able to attend an Ivy League institution that had the option of turning a blind eye to the application, like many colleges across the country.

Life is tough now, and I’m not saying it hasn’t been easy for me. But in a sense, there is so much we can do, but we cannot push the limits of activism, where it loses its true essence and it becomes just noise for other people.

Let’s show everyone why we should be giving the incredible chance of integrating into the American society.

Let’s show everyone that we aren’t here to live off programs but to help this great nation flourish and see its best days yet.

Let’s not fight those who are there for us.

Let’s embrace our power as the activists, friends, and neighbors we all are in this great country of opportunity and hope.

  • Peter

    These DACAs has no right to demand anything. If they were more humble, the American public could be more sympathetic. I was much more sympathetic to them before I started following the debate. Now I am convinced that they are ungrateful brats that deserve nothing. I already called on my Reps. to let them know that if they vote for any kind of DACA amnesty without countermeasures, they can’t rely on my vote on the upcoming elections.

  • tyler cooper

    Democrats, MSM, every
    faculty member at any university in the country fighting to the death
    for illegal aliens? they put a warm and fuzzy name on it “Dreamers.” and
    no one seem to wonder why? future voters? can you imagine the Democrats
    ever being this interested or motivated in issues involving citizens!

    There is an estimated 800,000 DACA recipients in the US. That is 800,000
    jobs American Citizens don’t have or will be in competition for. The
    MSM and Democrats would have us believe that all 800 thousand are not
    taking jobs Americans want (we’ve heard that lie for many years now.)
    This is another falsehood told to the American people. Democrats have
    actually changed the language. It’s not illegal alien anymore its “Immigrant.”
    (like the lie there just ‘Kids”) there not all picking strawberries they
    take great Jobs. Good enough jobs to buy homes put their kids through
    college.Why must the citizens of our country have competition for jobs,
    education in their own country from foreign nationals? Now Democrats and
    illegal alien activists admit DACA recipients have great jobs,are
    buying homes, paying taxes.

    The GOAL, motivation
    (Democrats just haven’t figured this out yet) is for the American
    citizens to be employed, sending their kids to college, buying homes and
    paying taxes. It’s not the responsibility of the citizens of this
    country to support, educate citizens from other country’s.Deportation
    will save jobs and decrease the BILLIONS we spend on illegal aliens.

    “Some” of the costs associated with illegal immigration……Dollars and Blood.

    *The
    cost of educating illegal aliens children is staggering. From K-12 it
    costs taxpayers $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student.

    *Now
    city, and state officials are appropriating millions of taxpayer
    dollars for legal fees to to file law suits and in defense of illegal
    aliens being deported.

    *2012 illegal aliens sent
    home $62 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin. This
    is why Mexico is getting involved in our politics.

    *30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens. Does not include local jails and State Prisons. At $21,000 per year expense per inmate in Federal Prison—U do the math.

    *$3Million
    Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens, I repeat 3
    MILLION a DAY to process Illegals in the Criminal justice system.

    *$2.2Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps),WIC, & free school lunches.

    There is also an incredible public safety issues.

    Shattered Dreams American citizen style.
    http://www.ojjpac.org/memorial.asp
    http://www.illegalaliencrimereport.com/
    http://www.wnd.com/…/big-list-of-86-horrific-illegal…/

  • piper60

    If you WANT to live in a country where the laws made by the people’s representatives can beset aside to serve a political demographic change program. feel free to move back to the hell-hole you came from!