SDCCD is an immigrant safe-space

Tremaine Harvey, Opinion Editor

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The San Diego Community College District declared, in a letter late January, that it will not participate in any form of immigration enforcement. The email sent out to students stated that the SDCCD is dedicated to all students, regardless of: race, ethnicity, heritage, national origin, immigration status, age, gender identity, medical condition or disability. All of this seems standard at Mesa College, however recent political events have left a lot of people uneasy.

It is no secret that Donald Trump and his administration want to get tough on illegal immigration. During his campaign, he boasted about deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants and building a “beautiful wall” at the US/Mexico border.

Trump has maintained the position that Mexico only sends their ‘bad guys’ or “bad hombres,” as he’s referred to them. Not only is that statement false and nonsensical but it undermines our relationship with Mexico, as well as demeans Mexicans. What’s more is that Trump has said that Mexico will pay for the wall on numerous occasions; though their president has made it extraordinarily clear that they will not pay for it under any circumstance.

If Trump’s wall ever does get built, the overwhelming likelihood is that, American consumers or tax payers will end up footing the bill. However, if Americans are going to pay for the wall, it is best they know what they are getting themselves into.

Last month, Trump’s administration proposed a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports, as a possible method of paying for the border wall. The obvious problem with issuing a 20 percent import tax is that Mexico is Americas’ second-largest export market and third-largest trading partner, according to state.gov. At the end of the day, when a multinational corporation’s bottom-line is threatened, they will likely pass costs onto consumers; they are in business to maximize profit, not build border walls.

With all of this talk about protecting our borders and building a thousand-mile wall across the desert, one might think that the US has a substantial Mexican immigration problem, but that is far from accurate.

According to Pew Research Center, the number of unauthorized immigrants coming from Mexico has been declining since 2007. They actually found that since the Great Recession, more unauthorized Mexican immigrants have left the US than have entered it. Currently the US has below net zero unauthorized Mexican immigration coming into the country. It makes no sense to fund and build a thousand-mile border wall that immigration experts have deemed useless.

Pew Research Center, also found that, of the 3.5 percent of unauthorized immigrants living among the US population, 66 percent of the adults have lived there for at least ten years. And only 7 percent of unauthorized Mexican immigrants have been living in the country for less than five years. Unauthorized Mexican immigration is a non-issue, though the decline has been offset by immigrants from Asia, Central America and sub-Saharan Africa, Pew says.

Some people feel that unauthorized immigrants who have been living in the US for a decade, that have made a life, friends and family, should absolutely have the opportunity at a path to citizenship— without deportation. That shouldn’t be a hard concept to grasp, however a lot of times it is met with, ‘get in the back of the line and do it right like everybody else.’

When Trump and his supporters talk about building a useless border wall and deporting 11 million unauthorized immigrants, Americans must ask why? Not only is it unrealistic to roundup and deport 11 million people but it is cruel and un-American; or perhaps it is all too American.

America has been here before, for example in 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. History.com says it “was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States.” They say that “Those on the West Coast were especially prone to attribute declining wages and economic ills on the despised Chinese workers. Although the Chinese composed only .002 percent of the nation’s population, Congress passed the exclusion act to placate worker demands and assuage prevalent concerns about maintaining white “racial purity”.”

They also note that the Chinese Exclusion Act inspired subsequent movements for immigration restriction. They say that it gave way for other “undesirable” groups to become restricted: Middle Easterners, Hindu and East Indians, and the Japanese. The Chinese were not granted citizenship eligibility until 1943.

Americans should focus on inclusion, after all they are a country of immigrants. Fear and hate are a bad combination and have never solved any of America’s problems.

SDCCD’s letter closes with the following statements:

The Constitution applies to everyone within the United States, no matter their citizenship or visa status.  Certain rights, like the right to remain silent and not answer questions asked by police or immigration authorities, apply to everyone.

As part of our compliance with Federal and State laws and regulations, we want you to know that the District:

  • Will not allow federal immigration officials on campus absent legal authority;
  • Will not act on behalf of federal agencies to enforce immigration laws or aid in deportation;
  • Does not share student records containing confidential information about you without written consent; a court order or other legal mandate; and
  • Our college police will not participate in any voluntary program of immigration enforcement.
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Tremaine Harvey, Opinion Editor

Hello, my name is Tremaine. I have been a student at San Diego Mesa College since 2014 and briefly in 2010. I’m studying journalism, history, and philosophy...

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