EDITORIAL: RUSA’s legislative action is praiseworthy
New efforts for DREAMers on campus is commendable
The Rutgers University campus has had an unsettling atmosphere since September of this year when the White House made efforts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. Since then, even events that are not directly related to the topic of undocumented immigrants have elevated sentiments of hostility around the Rutgers community. But just last Thursday, the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) added a glint of hope to the unwelcoming air after its full-body meeting. At this meeting, RUSA proved that undocumented students have a place on campus by passing legislation called “Resolution to Endorse The DREAM Act and Call for the Extension of the Temporary Protected Status Program.” This legislation, sponsored by the Legislative Affairs Committee, is complexly titled but in essence means that RUSA is showing support for every individual that is a part of the Rutgers community, regardless of citizenship status, and will accompany these students on their paths to obtaining citizenship.
The support for the legislation was almost overwhelming with 0 votes against it and 6 abstaining from voting. This means that RUSA will finally be able to advocate fully in support of the DREAM Act, something that they wanted to do in the past but could not due to certain procedures and technicalities. The group also plans on working with UndocuRutgers to ensure that the implementation of this legislation goes smoothly.
UndocuRutgers is a community and advocacy group for the hundreds of undocumented students at the University. The group was especially active last semester with protests on and off campus. This semester, the group has been less visibly active on campus, most likely because of the president’s plans to rescind DACA. RUSA pushing this legislation means that perhaps the group will feel freer to speak out on campus.
There are several different, great aspects to RUSA taking this initiative. DACA and the 2017 DREAM Act work to make a more inclusive campus. The students who were previously protected by DACA are ones who have no criminal record and are currently in school, graduated or honorably discharged from the Armed Forces. These are students who are in America because their parents brought them over before they turned 16. These are students that other people want to see deported back to “their countries,” despite the fact that oftentimes, America is the only country that they know. These students are contributors to society and are just trying to make the best of the situations that they have been put into. They are not “stealing jobs” or trying to “pull one over the government.” They work hard to get to a place of success, and banning against them is unfair, despite what their documentation may say. These are not people who have entered the country illegally with malicious intentions, and thus should not be treated as such.
RUSA’s actions to pass this legislation are not just commendable because of the benefits it provides to undocumented students. This legislation is also praiseworthy because 54 students at Rutgers University were able to come together and make a decision on behalf of the student body on an issue that deeply affects it. These are college students working together as a student government and getting things done. For those students who feel as though this legislation is in some way unfair, the answer is simple: there were 0 votes against the legislation. If you want to see change within the Rutgers community, then you must gather others who feel the same way as you and get more involved on campus and in these student government organizations. But until these students come forth and become more active in these groups, it seems as though the DREAMers will be free to dream on.
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