Jesuit College & University Presidents Speak Out to Protect DACA

On Tuesday, September 5th, President Donald Trump announced the rescission of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) issued a statement urging Congress to enact legislation that would protect the 800,000 students and young professionals affected by the program's rescission. Many presidents of the nation's Jesuit colleges and universities joined AJCU in issuing statements of their own in defense of the program. Click on the school names to read the full versions online; please note that this list will continue to be updated.

Xavier University: "Helping secure a safe future for these DREAMers is a moral obligation for me in my role as President of Xavier University. Now is the time for all of us to step up as examples of 'men and women for and with others.'" - Rev. Michael J. Graham, S.J., President, Xavier University & AJCU Board Chair

College of the Holy Cross: "As a Jesuit college, our institutional mission asks us to explore our obligations to one another and to commit ourselves to the service of faith and promotion of justice. We remain committed to this mission and intend to do all that we can within the limits of federal and state law to support any of our community members who may find themselves impacted by this decision." - Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President

John Carroll University: "As we heed the call to be men and women for and with others, we encourage you to live a faith that does justice. Reflect thoughtfully on this issue to form your opinion and express your views to our elected representatives. Please, ensure that our campus reflects our solidarity with all people, and especially with those who are poor and marginalized in our society. As we did a few weeks ago, we ask you to greet each person you meet throughout the day. The simplicity of this action gives witness to a truth: that all are unconditionally welcomed here. All protected. All respected." - Jeanne M. Colleran, Ph.D., Interim President

Saint Peter's University [message sent via e-mail to Saint Peter's community]: "The news that the Trump administration has made the decision to end the DACA program is deeply troubling. The elimination of the policy, which protected 800,000 young immigrants from deportation, has created a wave of fear and uncertainty among former DACA beneficiaries across the country as well as among the institutions and individuals who value and support the contributions these young people make to our society. This decision brings to mind the words of Pope Francis, 'The Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place or disposable.' Saint Peter’s University has a long tradition of welcoming and educating first generation and immigrant students and the welfare of all of our students is of the highest priority." - Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., President

Rockhurst University: "I hope this recent decision prompts us to insist that the U.S. Congress swiftly secure the bipartisan legislation known as the DREAM Act of 2017 as a humane, lasting solution. And, may it be fully consistent with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that codified the moral imperative for the care for all of our brothers and sisters, our companions on this earthly pilgrimage.” - Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., President

Georgetown University: "We have the capacity, and responsibility, as a nation to provide a permanent legislative solution to support our undocumented students. These are extraordinary young people who are part of the fabric of our nation—the only home that they have known. We must find the moral imagination to care for them and work together to assure their safety and wellbeing." - John J. DeGioia, Ph.D., President

Santa Clara University: "I shall work to support DACA students at Santa Clara during this period of stressful uncertainty. I join with our fellow Jesuit colleges and universities to provide a safe environment for our DACA students to continue their pursuit of higher education. Recalling the Biblical injunction, I believe that we should not 'wrong or oppress the resident alien,' women and men cherished by God (Exodus 22.21). We must never ignore our calling to be men and women for others, but work for just solutions for complex issues." - Rev. Michael E. Engh, S.J., President

University of San Francisco: "At USF, we are redoubling efforts to support our undocumented students, whether or not they are in the DACA program. We are committed to working to ensure that their access to a USF education is not interrupted. It is not likely that our DACA students’ existing financial aid is in jeopardy. DACA students do not receive federal money, they are not likely to lose their state CalGrants, and they will definitely not lose the institutional aid they currently receive from USF. There is, however, a risk that they will lose their ability to work legally to supplement the cost of their education. USF has already earmarked an endowment fund specifically for scholarship support for undocumented students. We are extending an invitation to all members of our community – students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends – to consider contributing to The Magis Scholarship Fund and join in the message that undocumented students are welcome here." - Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President

Regis University: "We respectfully will work to ensure the safety of all DACA students at Regis and throughout our community during these uncertain times. We will stand firm with our commitment not to work with immigration officials to enforce immigration laws, without a written order from a court of law. We will provide local and accessible resources to those in our community needing counsel and legal advice (immigration resources here). We will not stop in our vigilance to promote humane, comprehensive, national immigration reform. As God does not abandon his people, neither will we abandon them. God's people are our people. We stand with DACA students and the entire immigrant community.” - Rev. John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J., President

University of Detroit Mercy [message sent via e-mail to Detroit Mercy community]: "As a result of the action taken by the Trump Administration yesterday to end the DACA program, I want everyone to know that we will be continuing our efforts of the last several months to preserve the appropriate protections for our undocumented students as well as several hundred thousand more individuals. In particular, we are working with our sponsoring institutions’ organizations, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and Conference for Mercy Higher Education, as well as the major higher education organizations." - Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., President

Creighton University: "As Catholic and Jesuit, we are committed to upholding the human dignity of each person, strengthening family bonds, and allowing every student the opportunity to maximize her or his God-given talents through higher education. Creighton joins many universities and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in calling on our public representatives to create a permanent solution through the 'Dream Act of 2017' to allow our DACA students the ability to remain in the United States, complete their studies, and continue to contribute meaningfully in our communities." - Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J.

Canisius College: "I will repeat what I have said previously about undocumented students at Canisius: You are welcome here. I continue to urge all employees of Canisius College to reach out to any undocumented students in our midst and assist them." - John J. Hurley, J.D., President

University of Scranton: "Please join me in prayer for those in our midst and around the country who today face renewed anxiety and uncertainty, and in taking action on their behalf by appealing to Congress in collaboration with partner Catholic and Jesuit organizations, through the University’s Advocacy Corner. As Rev. Timothy Kesicki, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, has said, 'We call upon Congress to act without delay in enacting a lasting solution, but more than ever, we commit ourselves to living out God’s law, which calls on us to love the stranger, remembering that our ancestors in faith were once strangers in a foreign land.'" - Rev. Herbert B. Keller, S.J., Interim President

Boston College: "The decision to rescind DACA is such a mistake, and so conflicts with our values and heritage as a nation of immigrants. It is essential that Congress resolve this unfortunate situation as soon as possible. In the meantime, Boston College will continue assisting DACA students in its community." - Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., President

Le Moyne College: "This action flies in the face of Catholic Social Teaching and the basic tenets of Jesuit education...The commitment of Le Moyne - and all institutions of higher education - is to protect the rights of all students to contribute to their individual campuses. By removing the protection provided by DACA, we are eroding this commitment for many whose hard work has earned them the right to attend college and contribute in their own unique ways to a more just society." - Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D., President

Marquette University: "For those of us who work with students affected by DACA, this is not a theoretical policy debate. This is about real people who have done nothing wrong and deserve the chance to succeed — to walk across the stage with their classmates at Commencement and go on to contribute so much more to our community and our country." - Michael R. Lovell, Ph.D., President

Gonzaga University: "The DACA program is not a remote, theoretical issue; it is a local matter, affecting students and individuals who are part of the Gonzaga Community. Together with colleagues from the Center for Global Engagement, Student Development, Gonzaga Student Body Association and its affiliated clubs and organizations, and the Office of General Counsel, we will continue our work to understand how this recent action affects current Gonzaga community members and their families, and are committed to working with, and on behalf of, these individuals as we together navigate this continually evolving situation." - Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President

Fordham University: "I do not have to remind you that we live in deeply unsettled times. The rise of hate speech and undisguised hostility toward immigrants and anyone considered other, the horrific drowning of Houston and parts of Louisiana with its attendant loss of life and human suffering (including some families in the University community), and political and cultural divisions that seem to grow deeper by the day, call us urgently to live out the lessons of the Gospel and our Jesuit principles. We must do what is in our power to aid and protect the most vulnerable among us, at the University, and around the globe. Here, at Fordham, in one of the world’s capital cities, some of us live lives of relative ease and privilege. I call on you to join me in whatever way you can to help heal our society and our world." - Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President

Fairfield University [message sent via e-mail to Fairfield community]: "At Fairfield University, there are individuals and departments across campus supporting our students who might have questions or concerns as a result of the recent DACA decision. I applaud and thank them for being just in their work, and am proud of the care and concern that we continue to show for each other. Our commitment to open and inclusive inquiry and discernment is not debatable. It is integral to our identity and traditions, and I thank you all for your commitment to these core values as we welcome newcomers — like my family and me — to the Fairfield University community." - Mark R. Nemec, Ph.D., President

Saint Louis University: "From the moment we first learned of the possibility of DACA being rescinded, University leaders have spoken out fervently on a national level to our elected officials. On behalf of Saint Louis University, I have joined the ranks of international religious leaders and my fellow college and university presidents signing letters and endorsing statements urging Congress to protect the Dreamers, who are among the most vulnerable in our society. While these efforts have not yielded the results we had hoped, I refuse to believe they were fruitless. I will continue to advocate to lawmakers so that our collective voice is heard. I invite all of our campus community to do the same — to be informed, to be engaged in the political process, and to implore Congress to act in the best interests of all who call the United States home, now and in the future." - Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., President

Spring Hill College: "We have great faith that Congress will act appropriately to provide a permanent, positive future for these innocent young people." Christopher P. Puto, Ph.D., President

Saint Joseph's University: "Our commitment to support all of our students, regardless of their immigration status, remains steadfast and unchanged. As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, it is our responsibility to defend and advocate for the dignity of all human beings. I am heartened by the level of concern and care we show for one another, and I ask that we continue to be vigilant to the marginalized within our community." - Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., President

Loyola University Chicago: "We are extremely disheartened by the decision to rescind the DACA program. As a Jesuit, Catholic institution, Loyola University Chicago firmly believes in the dignity of each person and in the promotion of social justice. It defies understanding that we as a country would squander the wealth of talent, commitment, and grit exhibited by this extraordinary group of people who we know as our colleagues, our classmates, and our neighbors. These young individuals are woven into the fabric of our communities and have a basic right to contribute to our society. They are our future doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, business owners, and leaders who join us in lifting up the most marginalized in our world. Loyola University Chicago is committed to their success." - Jo Ann Rooney, J.D., L.L.M., Ed.D., President

Loyola Marymount University: "Our undocumented students connect our community to our global society, and they imagine a world where the promise of an LMU education overcomes barriers, creating a better life for those here and for those to come. Since the advent of DACA, we have experienced its profound benefits for our students and its positive impacts on our university and our nation. Dreamers on our campus have been and are exemplary scholars and leaders. Thanks to DACA, these students and alumni have pursued opportunities in business, education, tech, and nonprofit sectors. They contribute actively to our communities and they strengthen our economy. They represent what is best about America, and they are essential to our future." - Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., President

Seattle University: "Short of congressional action in the coming months, the more than 800,000 individuals whose parents—seeking a better life for their children—brought them here as children and are protected by DACA will be at risk of deportation. Today’s decision runs counter to the values of our country, our common humanity and our university. There is strong national and bipartisan Congressional support for maintaining DACA. We will continue to join together with other universities and higher education associations in urging Congress to act swiftly to pass the Dream Act or other legislation to keep DACA in place." - Rev. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., President

Loyola University New Orleans: "The decision to end DACA threatens students who are citizens in every way, except their immigration status. Most were brought to America by their parents through no choice of their own and have grown up in our communities, attended our schools, served in our military, and are obtaining an education so that they can make a difference in the world. We join with many of our fellow Jesuit colleges and universities in expressing disappointment in the administration’s decision to terminate the DACA program and in hoping that Congress will swiftly act in a bipartisan manner to approve legislation that encompasses our strong belief in caring for all of our brothers and sisters." - Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., President

For more information on the DACA program, please click on the following article titles:

5 Questions About DACA Answered (NPR: September 5, 2017)
U.S. Immigration: DACA and Dreamers Explained (CNN: September 5, 2017)
What is DACA?: DREAMERS Explained (MSNBC: September 5, 2017)