EDITORIAL: DACA recipients deserve finanical aid

Edcuation should be included in our unalienable rights

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It is safe to say our founding fathers had the right idea. It should be agreed upon that all people in the United States — and the world, for that matter — have a fundamental right to the aforementioned qualities.

If all people are granted the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by their “Creator,” then in having that right, all people should also have equal opportunity to access and enjoy it. But it is clear that in the United States today, let alone the world, that equal opportunity is far from universal. But thankfully, Rutgers is beginning to make that equal opportunity more of a reality. 

Since the signing into law of the Tuition Equality Act in 2013 by former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students have been able to pay in-state tuition to attend public colleges and universities in New Jersey. Now, via a privately funded nonprofit scholarship fund called TheDream.US, Rutgers will take equal opportunity for education to the next level by offering financial aid to DREAMers. This move by the University is heartening to see, especially considering President Donald J. Trump’s administration’s cold and continuous fight to eliminate protections for the United States’ approximately 700,000 DACA recipients. Being that DACA recipients are more likely to be stricken by poverty, if we are to hold true to the idea that all people are endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then more realistic access and opportunity for higher education should be included in that right.

It is clear that a lack of education can and does result in poverty. Given that fact, it is interesting to see that globally, as well as in the United States, poverty and poor health — including premature death — are tightly correlated. It would seem, then, that equal access to not just an education, but quality education, should be a sort of prerequisite to obtaining access to true life, liberty and happiness. This is because education is a key way to escape the hole of poverty that often bars people from upward social mobility, and is therefore a key way to escape poor health and premature death. Upward social mobility allows people to care more effectively for their health and wellness, and since a college education is linked to higher pay and increased job security, it is therefore reasonable to say that it is linked to better bodily health. 

DACA recipients are American in all but documentation — the United States is truly their home country. Most Americans are only so by virtue of being randomly born in an American territory, and as a result they get to reap the benefits that our country has to offer. But for DREAMers, who never asked to be brought to the United States, those benefits are harder to come by. Our fellow students who also happen to be DACA recipients, despite where they happened to be born, deserve the same educational opportunities as citizens. To deny them this would be, arguably, to deny them equal opportunity and access to their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 


The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 150th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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