Did you know that Georgia is one of only three states to implement admissions bans of undocumented persons in public higher education? (Alabama and South Carolina join us in esteemed company.)
Did you know that Georgia would lose about $24 million in tax dollars annually if DACA recipients (Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals; a.k.a. Dreamers) lose their eligibility status? $24 million would pay the salaries of over 700 teachers annually. (Admittedly, teachers are drastically underpaid!)
Did you know that if undocumented immigrants in Georgia were to receive legal status, they could contribute an additional $100 million in state and local taxes annually?
Did you know that immigrants start businesses at twice the rate of nonimmigrants?
Did you know that 83% of the finalists of the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search – often called the “Junior Nobel Prize” – were the children of non-US-born parents?
Did you know that a study by the Cato Institute indicated that nonimmigrants are incarcerated at nearly twice the rate of illegal immigrants, and more than three times the rate of legal ones? (Granted, the US has a profit-driven sickness concerning incarceration that is a whole other problem.)
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee was looking to hire a community organizer in Georgia. They consulted with me regarding some of the applicants. Here’s a portion of a resume we received from a 19-year-old female Dreamer:
- High School Honors Graduate 2016, GPA 4.0, Top 5% of the class
- Relevant Awards: Faculty Cup (2016), Principal’s Leadership Award (2016), Chamber Foundation Leadership Scholarship (2016), Community Character Coalition Scholarship (2016), Hispanic Heritage Gold Award in Engineering and Mathematics in Atlanta (2015), QuestBridge Finalist (2015-16), AP Scholar with Honor (2015), Governor’s Honors Program Science Alternate (2014), Georgia Certificate of Merit (2014), Outstanding Attorney Award in Mock Trial at Region and District (2014), Superintendent’s Spotlight Award (2014)
- Extracurriculars: Robotics (Captain, Electrical Team, Co-Head Programmer, Equipment Manager), Future Business Leaders of America (Vice President 2015, Treasurer 2016), Mock Trial (Attorney), French National Honor Society, National Honor Society
- Employed robotC (C-based programming language) to create programs for the joystick controller which moved the motors and servo motors and to create autonomous programs that made the robot perform certain tasks
- Designed a powertrain for the drivetrain, and wired all of the motors using a new communication platform
- Advanced to the winning alliance at both of our qualifiers, won the PTC Design award, and qualified for the state championship
Wait….We want to deport this person???
(She withdrew here application when she received a scholarship to a private university. Good for her! Hopefully she’ll be allowed to remain in the country to complete her education.)
Regarding Dreamers, asylum seekers, immigrants and undocumented persons in general, a case could be made that we need them more than they need us!
For this country to compete on the world stage in the coming decades, we desperately need their entrepreneurial spirit, their willingness to sacrifice and work hard without guarantees of success and their fierce desire to have a shot at the American Dream.
(I’m grateful that they still see the United States as the place to dream dreams despite our mistreatment of them).
There is room for them here! It’s time that we welcomed them!