DACA Dreamers — A Few Thoughts

Let’s throw away $7,855,100,000.

That’s the amount of money, on average, we’ve invested in the DACA Dreamers’ public education for each year they have spent in the United States.

If we deport them, we will, essentially, have thrown that money away and invested it in Mexico or whatever country they are deported to.

How long have they been here? How many years have they spent in public schools? How much of our tax money has been invested in their education?

Every day they have attended school has educated them in being Americans. Everyday they Pledge Allegiance to the American flag. Everyday they learn more American English. Everyday they learn American history. Everyday they play American sports.

Every day they become more and more American — until most have forgotten what it is not to be an American.

Dreamers aspire to become doctors and nurses, soldiers and sailors, chefs and vintners, police and firefighters, reporters and politicians.

Dreamers want good jobs, to live in good neighborhoods with good schools. They want these things for themselves, their children and grandchildren. Sort of what our parents and grandparents wanted for us.

All they want is to be Americans.

Maybe their skin is a different shade than ours. Maybe their religion is different than ours. Maybe their first language was not English, but, then again, odds are quite good that our grandparents and great-grandparents spoke a language other than English also. Maybe their favorite foods are not ours, but their first food was milk — the same as ours.

Their DNA is the same and their blood is red no matter their “racial” or national origin.

America is changing, evolving, but it is still America. Our ideals are still the same as those of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Hamilton — “all men are created equal.” Although it seems as though some of us believe that some are more equal than others.

Attempting to rid America of the Dreamers will not halt or reverse this evolution of our country. It is progressing as it has for the last several centuries.

Don’t believe me?

Look at those you pass in the supermarket.

Wander through your child’s school — its classrooms and lunchrooms and playgrounds.

Look at those who sit next to you at football and baseball and basketball games. Yes, and at your children’s teammates at their soccer practices.

And, for many of us, our worst fears are being realized in our children’s choices of study partners, best friends, dates.

They don’t have our preconceptions — and haven’t paid much attention to our prejudices or have decided to defy them as we chose to defy those of our own parents.

I taught in Orange County classrooms for some forty years and learned a few things. One of them is that children who go to school with children of different colors will have friends of different colors. They will be in study groups with them; they will eat lunch with them; they will be on the same teams and in the same clubs.

They will date — they will have sex. They will live together; they will marry; they will have children — our grandchildren.

Our grandchildren may not have the same skin or eye color (or shape) as we do but they will be just as loving, and lovable, as our children were. We may — will — find it quite hard, if not impossible not to love them back.

The DACA Dreamers? They’re as American as you and I, and maybe more so except in legal name.

Let us find a way to change that. Let us eliminate the uncertainty and fear in their lives. Let us find a way to make them American in name as well as in fact.

Let us reap the investment we’ve already made in these hardworking, taxpaying Americans.

740,000 registered Dreamers as of January 2017.

$10,615 the average cost per pupil in a public school per year.

Total investment per year: $7,855,100,000