By Theresa Schliep
Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the university, signed a letter to President Donald Trump in support of “Dreamers”, immigrants who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). McShane and over 560 other universities asked Trump to allow Dreamers to continue to work and study in the United States, while government works to find a permanent solution.
“These young people consider themselves Americans, just like their classmates and friends, and in most ways they are,” said the letter.
DACA grants immigrants whose parents’ brought them into the United States before the age of 16 temporary permission to stay and also allows them to apply for temporary work permits.
There are approximately 750,000 “Dreamers” in the United States. Though the act does not allow for students to receive federal student aid, “Dreamers” are allowed to attend college.
Trump has wavered on his stance on DACA. On the campaign trail, Trump said he would immediately suspend DACA, one of President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration. Yet in February, he said “DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me.”
In November, McShane signed a letter with other Catholic university presidents in support of undocumented immigrants.
McShane emailed the university community in November, explaining his support for undocumented students.
“We pledge to support these students — through our campus counseling and ministry support, through legal resources from those campuses with law schools and legal clinics, and through whatever other services we may have at our disposal,” he said.
Under DACA, immigrants receive a work permit, driver’s license and a social security number. They must renew their application every two years, though, which costs almost $500, according to the LA Times. There is no path to permanent citizenship through DACA.
Today’s letter said many immigrants fear that the program will end and their lives will change dramatically. It cited Trump’s positive comments on “Dreamers”, and said that the higher education community will work with the administration to come to a solution.
“Thank you for the positive comments you have made on several occasions about ‘Dreamers,’ a group of outstanding young people you recently referred to as ‘incredible kids.’ We agree with you,” read the letter. “Brought as children to our country and since granted temporary permission to stay and obtain work permits, they contribute to our great nation every day. We are ready to work with you to ensure that they can continue to do so.”
The university did not respond to request for comment in time for publication.