Repealing DACA Is Normalizing Hate

Repealing DACA Is Normalizing Hate

Trump has just proven himself to be the racist, anti-immigration person he denies being - at the expense of innocent lives.
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The DACA program, which protected undocumented children that were brought into America before the age of 16, has been, of course, declared to be over by the Trump administration. Congress has all but vowed to save it in a almost unusual display of bipartisanship that we don't see much of these days. As with anything that has the words “illegal” and “immigrant,” many completely support the idea of literally deporting children from the only country they know – including Trump and A.G. Jeff Sessions, because of course they do. However, contrary to what the alt-right news sources are talking about when it comes to DACA, the people who are in the program are not living off the state, nor are they just here for a free ride – they're mostly on the path of citizenship, and those who aren't haven't been here long enough to be able to.

DACA, or the Dreamer program, was established by Barack Obama so that in a court of law, a child who really had no say in whether the family would enter the country illegally wouldn't be able to be arrested or deported for undocumented immigration. Strict requirements were put in place, such as an annual fee of five hundred dollars, the recipient must be working and paying taxes if of age, they must have absolutely clear criminal records – basically, they have to be upstanding model citizens. One may ask “well if they care so much to do all that to stay here, why can't they just pay the money and fill out the form to be a citizen?” In actuality, getting citizenship isn't as easy as it sounds. To qualify, one must be eighteen years of age or older, have lived here on a green card for at least five years, have not left the country for more than thirty months over the last five years, complete several interviews and tests – and that's just the main requirements, not including the fees and costs for every step. And that's where the DACA comes into play – children who immigrated here illegally are not considered 100% “illegal,” as they had no say in the ordeal. So using a program that essentially documents them as all but official green card holders, people are able to get documentation that can be used to apply for a green card, and thus citizenship.

Donald Trump said not that long ago that he “love[s] the Dreamers,” then he goes and cuts the program simply because of his hatred for Obama and racism. In the announcement, Jeff Sessions went on and said that the Dreamers were “taking jobs” from real Americans and, while never actually saying he and Trump consider them enemies of the state, it was heavily implied. Consider that Trump says he is the “law and order President” and told the NYPD to be more “rough” on their patrols, it really won't surprise me if we start to see ICE bursting into schools to arrest children because their parents illegally entered America. That is unlikely, but really, don't be shocked. It is not below these people to order armed arrests of children who, as I keep repeating, had no real idea what their families were doing was illegal. Trump and Sessions cannot claim this isn't because of racism, due to the ways in which Sessions spoke about these people. And as with most of the administration's removals and cuts to programs, this was done because Obama did it and Trump hates Obama just because he is black, successful, and more liked than Trump has been or ever will be. The Trump's-a-racist card isn't as farfetched as it seems, due to several court cases in which Trump or his companies have been sued for not renting property to nonwhite people, and the “Obama birther conspiracy” that was promoted by Trump himself. Once again, we have an administration running on hatred and white nationalism, not doing their job and actually thinking like rational people.

What we need is an easier pathway to citizenship. The Dreamer program should stay, but it should also include an internal system to allow these recipients to be able to get their citizenship as quickly as possible – as well as fixing the current system to allow the parents to get theirs too. The tests are designed to prove the potential citizens have the same basic knowledge as most of America does and in reality, they know a lot more. Maybe that should be a requirement to get a state ID of any form – take the citizenship test and pass. How can people come into the country and get citizenship if they don't work to have the money and life they desire? How can people be opposed to innocent, unknowing children being protected from being prosecuted? Racism is part of it, but ignorance of what it takes to be a naturalized American citizen is just as much of a problem.

The removal of the Dreamer program proves the racism and white nationalist views of the White House, especially with having Jeff Sessions, who was barred from being a federal judge due to his racist views on non-whites during the 1980s, making the announcement. Meanwhile, Trump says it's up to Congress on whether the program stays, as if to make it sound like he's trying to make Congress do their job – which if that were the case, he would have come right out and said it, not send one of his yes men to call taxpayers and even veterans “criminals” because of something they had no control over. If DACA is removed, then expect to explain to your kids why their friend was hauled out of school by men with guns and why children are dying in nations they never knew because their family had to escape the horrors. You cannot, and should not, blame children for what their parents did, especially young children who were brought across the border to have a better life. This isn't a matter of illegal and legal, nor is it a political thing where “oh well a Republican said the program is wrong so it's wrong, just let the kids die, let the kids see their friends being threatened with death, and let five-year-olds be treated as criminals because they don't know they aren't a citizen of a nation founded by men who illegally took the land.” That is not America. That's the first step to another Holocaust, and honestly, with a man who refused to call out neo-Nazis using his name and supporting him in the highest office in the land, true patriots may be being arrested for hiding enemies of the state.

Cover Image Credit: CNN

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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