President Trump announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, on Tuesday. The Obama-era immigration policy provided protection from deportation to more than 800,000 “Dreamers”, some of whom are Pilots.
In response to this announcement on DACA, University President Fr. Mark Poorman sent an email to the campus community. Read the email in full:
Dear Members of the University of Portland Community,
As you may have heard, President Donald J. Trump announced today that he is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, with a delay in the enforcement of the decision for six months.
I am disappointed by this outcome, as it puts over 750,000 young people at risk of eventual deportation, depriving them of the opportunities they have worked so hard to achieve and rejecting the important economic and social contributions they could make to the nation they consider home.
As is the case with many colleges and universities in our country, the University of Portland has been home to numerous DACA students since the program was established in 2012. Many of those have gone on to achieve great success in graduate school and in their fields and today are making positive impacts on their communities.
Last fall, I joined college and university presidents from public and private institutions across the country in signing a statement “In Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students,” calling for the continuation and expansion of the DACA program. I also added my name to a statement posted November 30th on the website of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities from 70 presidents pledging our support for DACA students attending our schools.
I am still hopeful that the president and members of Congress will reconsider any effort to end the DACA program and I encourage them to do everything in their power to find a compromise solution that defends these young people. Legal scholars have raised the question as to whether this is a situation in which we should exercise prosecutorial discretion, as these “Dreamers,” as they are called, never knowingly violated any laws themselves. Deporting them would be at odds with any compassionate, ethical legal approach.
Regardless of what decision is reached, the University of Portland, as I assured you last fall, remains fully committed to supporting all of our students, regardless of their citizenship or documentation status. Let us stand together and reaffirm our pledge to an inclusive environment where all people are welcomed as children of God and valued as full members of our community.