I am, I suppose, part of a rather large number of alumni who read the print edition of PAW from back to front, so it was that I read the piece about slavery and its connection to Princeton before I read my classmate Bruce Elliot’s letter in the Nov. 8 issue. When I read that letter, however, I was struck by the irony. How can we reject the kind of inhumane judgment that allowed slavery, and not also reject that same quality in our treatment of Dreamers?
The Dreamers I have known were brought to the States as children and had no say in the matter. Had they known the reality, they might have tried to maintain their family connections in their countries of origin and to have learned the language of their homelands, but they were far more committed to being part of this country and to helping their parents to learn English.
To say that they deserve to be treated like those who have come here willingly and deceitfully is, in my opinion, the same as saying that slaves — because they didn’t immigrate willingly — had no right to citizenship after the Civil War. It is the same lack of moral and ethical awareness that allowed the University at that time to inscribe names of the dead without designation of Yankee or Confederate; to say in effect that being pro- or anti-slavery were equivalent values.
We do not live in times when it is sufficient to accept all positions as morally equivalent. I commend any attempt by our alma mater to provide every possible support to undergraduates who are Dreamers. And I hope that Princeton will also continue to ignore immigration status in admitting students. After all, does our great college not have a responsibility to educate the best of young men and women to move the world forward?