by Zoe Montague ’20
The topic of immigration continues to be a national discussion. On Constitution Day on Tuesday, Sept. 17, an immigration policy lawyer and a Dreamer brought the discussion to Neville Hall.
The Current State of Immigration
“If we had [an immigration] problem, it was ten years ago,” Louise Pocock, an immigration policy lawyer at the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, said during the debate.
Pocock explained to students and community members inside Kuhne Auditorium how the United States arrived at its current state of immigration. Pocock expressed the downward sloping trend in illegal immigration, along with the recent shift in the characteristics of immigrants from single men to families and unaccompanied minors.
Pocock then described a bipartisan bill that is currently sitting in committee that would offer state benefits to the more than 7,000 DACA recipients who currently live and work in South Carolina. This bill would allow these young people to obtain in state-tuition at public universities, be eligible for state-sponsored scholarships, and be able to apply for professional licensure in South Carolina.
Life as an Undocumented Immigrant and a Dreamer
Bautista then told her story about her life as first an undocumented immigrant, then as a Dreamer.
She explained how she walked to the border when she was eleven, walking for two nights and one day, only stopping to avoid being seen. Bautista explained that as a child she didn’t understand why she was traveling to the United States.
“We’re moving to the US because that’s what we’ve been told,” Bautista said.
When she was a teenager, Bautista realized that her only option after high school was to join the undocumented workforce, making as low as four dollars an hour up to minimum wage.
It wasn’t until the DACA legislation passed that Bautista was able to move forward in life and do things such as recieve her driver’s license or get a legal social security number for employment purposes.
“I passed my parallel parking test on the first try,” she said.
“No price on not being scared”
In November, the Supreme Court will make their decision on whether to rescind any DACA legislation, effectively removing all dreamers of their legal status and making the South Carolina bill meaningless.
As for now, Bautista explained that she will continue to be hopeful.
“There’s no price on not being scared to drive down the road,” Bautista said.
The Department of Political Science brings discussions like the immigration debate to campus so that students can see and hear for themselves what’s going on in the world. Visit the Department of Political Science to learn more about studying political science at PC.