The last Athenian Assembly debated and voted on the acceptance of metics and slaves as citizens of Athens and their ability to vote. DACA is also being debated in today’s government in the United States. DACA is a program that allows children who came here illegally with their parents to reside in the United States for two year periods in between getting their DACA renewed. This can let non-citizens live in the United States indefinitely providing that their paperwork is renewed. However, the people on DACA are still here illegally. Therefore, DACA should be rewritten to allow immigrants in the program in the United States, provided that they are in the process of attaining citizenship.
In ancient Athens, the democracy debated on allowing metics and slaves to become citizens. Athens citizenship was only open to people of Athenian decent, all others were considered barbarians. The Old Oligarch states, “A city would not be the best on the basis of such a way of life, but the democracy would be best preserved that way. For the people do not want a good government under which they themselves are slaves; they want to be free and to rule” (Pseudo-Xenophon, para 4). The Old Oligarch argues that democracy would be best preserved if slaves were free and given opportunities. This thought can be applied to today with illegal immigrants; illegal immigrants come to the United States for opportunities that they won’t have access to anywhere else. However, the law should still be upheld until it is changed. Therefore, DACA should allow illegal immigrants access to the United States, only if they pursue citizenship in the United States and have background checks. In this way, DACA would give people access to a job and education as they wait to be official.
Both ancient Athens metics and DACA recipients are similar because they are residents partaking in society but not citizens. According to NPR, “In 2012, Obama stepped in with the DACA program when Congress failed to pass a version of the DREAM Act then. At the time, Obama justified his action, saying, ‘These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag. They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.’” (Romo, para 35-36). The most important thing to remember is that DACA recipients are people too. I am proposing that DACA be reformed so that these Americans in every way but on paper, can become Americans on paper as well.
The mock Athenian assembly did change my mind regarding immigrants. I grew up in a very conservative area and before the discussion I was more opposed to DACA then I am now. Now I am more open to hear DACA arguments and I see the importance of the program. I still however believe that the law should be upheld and maybe DACA could be an option to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the United States, create a better life for themselves, and one day become citizens.
- “Pseudo-Xenophon (Old Oligarch), Constitution of the Athenians E. C. Marchant, Ed.” Pseudo-Xenophon (Old Oligarch), Constitution of the Athenians, Chapter 1, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0158.
- Romo, Vanessa, et al. “Trump Ends DACA, Calls On Congress To Act.” NPR, NPR, 5 Sept. 2017, http://www.npr.org/2017/09/05/546423550/trump-signals-end-to-daca-calls-on-congress-to-act.
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