Among the 800,000 undocumented individuals protected by the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) are students at Jesuit institutions. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (in partnership with the Ignatian Solidarity Network and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States) encourages all students, faculty, staff and alumni of the nation's 27 Jesuit institutions to contact their members of Congress and ask for their support to protect DACA students (as well as those who benefit from TPS and DED) as H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act of 2019, prepares for votes by the full U.S. House of Representatives next week. Click here to contact your member today.

Meet Our #JesuitDreamers:

Alan Lozano, Xavier University ‘21

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“As a DACA student, I was not offered many scholarships to attend college, and did not qualify to apply for FAFSA due to my undocumented status. When doing my college search, the first fear for my parents and me was looking to see which schools would accept DACA students; the second was money. Being the middle child of three children and having an older brother (who is also a DACA student) in college was not easy for my family. I knew it was going to be hard for my parents to afford two college tuitions without any help from scholarships. So, without many other opportunities, I had to turn to applying for external scholarships.”

Click here to read more of Alan’s story.


Luisana Pacheco, Regis University ‘15, ‘20

"Being an EMT is like wearing a shield: you go into a room full of cops and you're protected because nobody would suspect an EMT to be a DACA student."

Click on the video to hear more of Luisana’s story.


Dreamers at Georgetown University

Meet Juan Martinez (SFS ‘20), Mariel Mendez (SFS ‘21), Kyeong Yun Jeong (M’21) and Luis Gonzalez (COL ‘19), all DACA students at Georgetown who are working to make a difference on campus and in their communities.

Click on the video to hear more of their stories.


Maria del Cielo Mendez, Saint Peter's University ‘22

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“Dreamers deserve a pathway to citizenship — regardless of where they were born or how their parents chose to immigrate from a country where they felt hopeless. This can be done through the enactment of H. R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act of 2019, but we can only succeed by sharing our own immigration stories and standing in solidarity with the undocumented community. The message this week is clear: Dreamers stand with the Dream and Promise Act, and Jesuit colleges and universities stand with their Dreamers.”

Click here to read more of Maria’s story.


Maria Gaytan-Martinez, Georgetown University ‘19

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Maria is just weeks away from graduating from Georgetown. She has been active on campus, and she has continued to find time to mentor students at DC Public Schools, as well as students from her hometown. She has been a camp counselor for individuals with disabilities and interned for her Congressman in Illinois. In just a few months, she will begin her career as a special education teacher in Milwaukee through Teach for America, continuing to give back to those in her community who need it the most.

Click here to read more of Maria’s story.


Marco Castellon, Loyola Law School at Loyola Marymount University

"If I do not gain legal status, and am one day unceremoniously banished from the only home I've known, it will not change what I hope will be my life's ultimate contribution: for my efforts and path to help serve as a foundation for the next generation of great minority attorneys - much like my path has been, and will continue to be built on the efforts and sacrifices of indomitable generations before me."

Click here to read more of Marco’s story.


Jose Cabrera, Xavier University ‘18

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"The Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) will give a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders and DED holders but most importantly it will — on paper — recognize these individuals as the Americans they’ve always been. I just renewed my DACA, and if the bill doesn’t become law, I only have two years of guaranteed work eligibility and protection from deportation. My story is one of the millions of Dreamers, TPS holders and DED holders. It’s time that we advocate for our fellow Dreamers and be recognized as the Americans we are."

Click here to read more of Jose’s story.


Mariana Valles, rockhurst University ‘20

“We moved here because my parents were wanting a better education for me and my sister. They were wanting a better life and wanted us to have an opportunity to get a college degree. I want to influence my peers, other people who are behind me in my same situation, so they can know that it is possible to get a degree, and it is possible to achieve your dreams, despite all of the negativity that we are surrounded with."

Click here to read more of Mariana’s story.


Research on DACA

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A new study by Vana Zervanos, associate dean for the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University, examines the role of presidential leadership in navigating the complexities of DACA at two Jesuit institutions: Georgetown University and Loyola University Chicago. Zervanos writes:

“Throughout American history, higher-education institutions have confronted political and cultural issues by taking bold action to elevate the moral character of our nation and the quality of life of its citizens…I have witnessed, with both admiration and bewilderment, how institutions have responded to such issues that have attracted the attention of the academy. Over the past few years, I have conducted research for a study as part of my doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania. My study, On Mission and Political Purpose in Higher Education Institutions: How Two Jesuit Universities Responded to the Complexities of DACA, investigated the actions that Georgetown University and Loyola University Chicago took to respond to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and how their presidents used levers of leadership that moved the institutions productively forward.”

Click here to read more on Zervanos’ study.


AJCU Presidents' Statements on Undocumented Students
Click here for the November 2016 statement.
Click here for the January 2013 statement.

Joint Statement on DACA from Jesuit Student Government Presidents
Click here for the September 2017 statement.

AJCU Education Deans Statement on DACA
January 2018 letter signed by Deans of Education at Jesuit colleges and universities (ajcunet.edu)
Op-ed featured in The Hill on January 29, 2018 (thehill.com)

American Council on Education (ACE) Letter to Speaker Ryan on DACA & Child Separation
June 2018 letter signed by AJCU and higher education associations (download as PDF)

ACE Letter to House & Senate Leadership on DACA
October 2017 letter signed by AJCU and U.S. colleges and universities including Jesuit institutions (download as PDF)

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Letter to Congress
January 2018 letter signed by AJCU and higher education associations (download as PDF)

On October 25th, Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), urged each Jesuit alum now serving in the 115th United States Congress to pass a bipartisan Dream Act and save DACA students.

National Jesuit Efforts to Support Dreamers

  • February 26, 2018: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops hosted a National Call-in Day to Congress in Support of Dreamers. Visit justiceforimmigrants.org to learn more.

  • February 21, 2018: A meeting between Gonzaga University students who recently visited the Mexican border, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), was featured in The Spokesman-Review of Spokane.

  • February 1, 2018: Jesuit colleges and universities participated in the national 'We Support the Dream Act' phone campaign. Students contacted their hometown member of Congress and their two United States Senators, in support of the DREAM Act and DACA. The following schools participated in the campaign (click on names in blue for more information): Georgetown University, Loyola University Chicago, Fordham University, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, Loyola University New Orleans, Saint Louis University, Boston College, Loyola University Maryland, John Carroll University, College of the Holy Cross, Xavier University, Loyola Marymount University, Creighton UniversityUniversity of Scranton, Gonzaga University, University of Detroit Mercy, University of San Francisco, Regis University, Le Moyne College, and Marquette University.

  • January 8, 2018: Xavier University DACA student, Jose Cabrera, was recently interviewed by WKRC Cincinnati for his perspective on the threats to the DACA program (WKRC Cincinnati).

  • November 30, 2017: A group of Loyola University Chicago medical students were featured on Chicago Tonight, where they discussed the challenges of pursuing a professional degree as undocumented students (Chicago Tonight). On February 22, 2018, Loyola's undocumented medical students were profiled in The Washington Post.

  • October 13, 2017: During AJCU's biannual Congressional Breakfast, Georgetown University DACA student Luis Gonzalez shared his story with members of the U.S. Congress and presidents of the nation's Jesuit colleges and universities (ajcunet.edu).

  • September 5, 2017: The University of San Francisco's president, Rev. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., spoke with KRON4 of San Francisco last fall, about the need to protect undocumented students (KRON4).

  • January 30, 2017: The president and vice president for academic affairs at the College of the Holy Cross issued a message to the campus community that reiterated the College's support for undocumented students (holycross.edu).

  • Additional Resources:

    • AJCU is a member of the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition, convened by the American Council on Education (ACE)

    • Loyola University Maryland created a resource page for undocumented students on its admissions website (loyola.edu); the University's student newspaper, The Greyhound, reported on initiatives led by Loyola's campus ministry and social justice offices to advocate for DACA students (thegreyhound.org)

    • The University of Scranton created an advocacy resource page for the University community to learn more about the DACA program and the Dream Act (scranton.edu/advocacy)

    • Loyola University Chicago created an advocacy page with calls to action and personal testimonies to the DACA program from undocumented students (luc.edu/diversity)

    • The Ignatian Solidarity Network collected stories about DACA from Jesuit colleges and universities for its blog series, Voices for Justice (ignatiansolidarity.net)

    • CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.) created an infographic with the latest news on DACA for Dreamers (twitter.com/cliniclegal)

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Photo by Loyola Marymount University.