Like many of you, I am deeply concerned by the announcement on Tuesday that in six months, the Trump administration intends to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA beneficiaries may have been born elsewhere and are classified as undocumented immigrants, but most barely know the country of their birth. They came to America as children and have spent the majority of their lives here, often overcoming tremendous odds. They have only known the United States as their homeland. With their abilities and potential, they deserve the opportunity to fully integrate into our nation as productive citizens. Many have already made important contributions to our society as physicians, teachers, entrepreneurs, and business and community leaders. As a nation, we should not squander this universal wealth of talent and possibilities.
I echo the leaders of other institutions of higher learning in our region who have spoken out against ending DACA. As Radford University President Brian Hemphill stated, “It is the diverse experiences and backgrounds of all our students and their faculty that enrich the total educational experience, and ultimately benefits our society, our democracy and our economy.”
Higher education is still one of the fundamental ways the American dream is attainable. In my own life journey, higher education gave me the access to opportunities that I could only dream of. To our DACA beneficiaries at Hollins, I want you to know that the university supports and believes in you. And to everyone who advocates for DACA’s continuance, I encourage you to contact your senator or representative and share your opinion. Congress will be debating this program in the coming weeks and months and your voices will play a crucial role in their ultimate decision.
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