Gov. Brown should use resources to streamline legalization of undocumented children

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Benjamin Gyman, Opinion Editor

The term “sanctuary state” has become nearly synonymous with California, for better or for worse, to both the native Californians and the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in this state. The flow of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants into the state each year has raised some eyebrows in D.C., but the local government has been more than welcoming by implementing laws that help illegal immigrants, creating programs to support them and ignoring some of the new federal anti-immigration policies.

Recently, the Trump administration has decided to pull the plug on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA). This program gives illegal immigrants who migrated to America before the age of 16 deferred action from deportation and eligibility for work permits. The DACA program will officially end as a government-funded program in 2020 with March 2018 being the end of the acceptance of registration forms.

When DACA protection and support ends, illegal immigrants will be at danger of losing work permits and financial aid for college and even being deported.

California’s government, as well as several other states’, were outraged at the end of the policy, with several claiming they will take vast measures to shield their illegal immigrants from the end of the DACA such as Arizona governor Doug Ducey and California governor Jerry Brown.

Governor Brown announced that $30 million will be set aside to help DACA applicants, named “DREAMers,” over the next few years as their applications expire, and $20 million will go to immigration legal services and the other $10 million will go to public colleges to provide financial aid to DACA applicants.

This plan begs the question that the opposition has clearly pointed out: why should California’s government spend money on illegal immigrants when legal immigrants or even American citizens need that money just as much?

Governor Brown believes that illegal immigrants should be treated equally with legal immigrants and U.S. citizens because this country was founded on the beliefs of justice and equality.

“To uproot these young people from the only country they have known as home is to turn our back on the future,” Brown said, “It is cruel and it runs counter to the ideals this country was founded on.”

Much to President Trump’s chagrin, Brown has being very welcoming of immigrants, both documented and not, in California and feels very strongly that they deserve a place in this country.

Whether the state government should be allocating money to illegal immigrants or not is a matter of debate, but there’s no doubt that Brown is going about spending money on illegal immigration all wrong.

If Brown feels so strongly about keeping immigrants in America and so repulsed by deportation, then he should put this $30 million into legalizing illegal immigrants.
Currently in the United States, it is nearly impossible for an illegal immigrant to become legal and they are crippled economically because of it. By

giving $30 million to a dying program, California is only alleviating a symptom not curing the problem. With DACA, illegal immigrants would still be limited by lack of opportunity by their status.

Naturalizing illegal immigrants kills two birds with one stones: it protects them from deportation and grants them more freedoms by giving them the right to vote, allowing them easier access to a higher education and granting them more opportunities in the workplace.

The state’s tax dollars could certainly go toward more beneficial programs for the millions of U.S. citizens in California, but since Brown is probably determined about setting aside these funds for illegal immigrants, he might as well do so as efficiently as possible.