On Sept. 5, President Donald Trump announced an end to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The policy protects immigrants brought to the United States illegally as minors and allows them to apply for work permits and receive education.
The program will be phased out after a six-month period and may force the 800,000 young adults protected by President Obamas program to be deported. Concerns started to grow on college campuses across the country, including Bradleys, over whether or not the repeal may deport any students covered by this program.
In response to students concerns, university President Gary Roberts sent out an email the morning of Sept. 8 to help field some of the campus questions.
[Bradley does] not have any official records of whether any DACA students are enrolled here. With no official record of whether any students are DACA certified, Bradley would not be able to, nor would we voluntarily provide information on this topic, the email said. All Bradley students, faculty and staff can rest assured that Bradley will undertake all reasonable steps to protect them from deportation should the government target them.
Although the email relieved most of the campus concerns, some students are still not completely satisfied with Robertss answers.
The email was good overall, because he did mention that if DACA were to not be passed again, that they would try to defend the undocumented population on campus, said Mariela Jasso, vice president of the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS). But they didnt really take a stand in terms of their solidarity with DACA recipients.
Jasso, a junior psychology major, said many students are not aware of what DACA is or what the news of repeal means for students nationwide.
I had one professor out of all of my classes even address it, Jasso said. He didnt even know what it stood for. He had the understanding of what it was, but I was the only student in the class who knew what it was and what it did. And in my other classes, it just went unspoken Theres a lack of voice for DACA recipients, [because] for all we know we have a DACA recipient sitting in class, and hes having a breakdown or trying to figure out his future, and theres no one speaking about it.
Jasso said people first need to educate themselves on the topic and the surrounding details about it.
It is an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, because these are lives of people being dangled on a thin string, Jasso said. The first step and the best thing you can do is [educate yourself], support those people that you know are on DACA or have family or friends that are on DACA, and then if you can, join protests, send letters to your senator, make that extra effort to get the word out.
Along with the other members of ALAS, Jasso said she wants to help make DACA students feel safe at Bradley throughout this uncertain process.
I think we just need to provide that safe haven on campus, Jasso said. As long as the DACA recipients feel safe on campus and their education is not in jeopardy, theyll be fine because they made it work this far. They just need to know they have people behind them who are willing to fight for them.
Any students interested in sending letters to representatives and senators in Washington can follow the link in President Robertss email: http://www.congressweb.com/naicu/legislators/.