Opinion Asks: Immigration

Opinion writers offer their thoughts on the recent ICE protest.

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 7/19/19 1:30am

We asked opinion columnists for their thoughts on whether Dartmouth should advocate against the Trump administration’s immigration policy in light of last week’s protest on the Green. 

The recent Lights for Liberty demonstration is a reminder to the entire Dartmouth community of our obligation as citizens of this country to speak out against injustice. 

Protestors were right to rally against the Trump administration’s immoral, illegal, unconstitutional policy of detaining asylum seekers. These asylum seekers are not the rapists and criminals of Trump’s announcement speech. The ACLU reports that they are frequently innocent women and children fleeing from violence. These refugees have a human dignity protected by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This includes rights to free practice of religion, basic living standards and due process that human detention systematically violates. America must reverse course and stop oppressing innocents without a home or a voice. 

Dartmouth must raise its own voice to defend the rights of the victims of international violence. The entire Dartmouth community must take a principled stand supporting the “foreigners” that are so integral to our own international community before the Trump administration comes knocking on our door. Dartmouth’s values of tradition and inclusion are at stake. If Dartmouth truly wants to be an international institution with an international reach that stands for diversity, the time for action is now to stand up to inhumane injustice. Alongside institutions like the ACLU, Dartmouth can forcefully push for the reforms America needs and our community depends upon. -Steven Adelberg ’21

The real problem with immigration policy is that no one wants to talk about it. We hear plenty about it, but neither side has shown much interest in real solutions. On the Trumpian right, you’ve got chants of “build the wall” — or more disturbingly, “send her back” — along with other assorted xenophobia. Watching the last Democratic primary debate, you’d half think the candidates favored an open border. It appears that some large sector on the left of the Democratic party is against immigration enforcement — hence the calls to abolish ICE. The reality, of course, is that both these extreme positions will lead nowhere. We need a workable solution for the border.

I understand where the left’s frustration with immigration enforcement comes from. Most undocumented immigrants are simply looking to work hard and create a better life for themselves and for their families. Their dream is the American Dream — we should make that dream achievable for as many people as possible. 

But there are many people who want that dream. That reality makes some sort of immigration enforcement unavoidable. So let’s stop squabbling about walls and start focusing on a real fix for the border. That means a fairer, more equitable system of admission into the country. It means taking asylum claims seriously. And it’s not one-sided. From the left, a fair solution would retroactively legalize those law-abiding, productive members of society who are currently here illegally. And from the right, a solution would integrate robust, effective border enforcement. With a fairer visa system installed, that security would be far less unjust than it often seems today. Immigration reform is possible. But first, we need to set aside the partisan bickering and focus on real solutions. -Matt Magann ’21