Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

University Continues Push for Dream Act as Senate Debate Stalls

As debate stalls in the U.S. Senate over a replacement to the rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Georgetown University administrators and students are pushing forward with efforts to lobby for permanent legal protections for students without documentation.

On Sep. 5, the administration of President Donald Trump rescinded DACA, an administrative program instituted under former President Barack Obama that provided work authorization and legal protection to about 800,000 immigrants without documentation who entered the United States as children. The rescission included a six-month delay for Congress to find a permanent replacement.

Democrats in Congress tried unsuccessfully to include a legislative DACA replacement in the 2018 budget bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) said Tuesday that debate on an immigration bill would be limited to this week, as party leaders have struggled to reach a deal, according to Politico.

Georgetown will continue to support DACA recipients and advocate for the passage of the Dream Act, a legislative proposal that would provide permanent protection and a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. Rachel Pugh, Georgetown’s senior director for strategic communications, reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to students without documentation and advocacy for the Dream Act in an email to The Hoya.

“Georgetown is deeply disappointed that Congress has not yet passed legislation that protects DREAMERS,” Pugh wrote. “As the Senate debates immigration legislation this week, we will continue advocating for the DREAM Act and efforts to protect our DREAMERS. We remain committed to supporting our undocumented students and will work alongside peers, students and policymakers to protect DREAMERS.”

University administrators plan to push forward with Dream Act lobbying efforts. Since the fall, University President John J. DeGioia has led a campaign to advocate for the bill, including sending letters to members of Congress and alumni. DeGioia called the Trump administration’s rescission of DACA “unconscionable” hours after it was announced.


Georgetown’s Office of Federal Relations plans to continue its advocacy for the passage of the Dream Act, which includes collaborations with other institutions. Associate Vice President for Federal Relations Scott Fleming said his office has worked with other educational institutions such as the American Council on Education, an organization of U.S. colleges and universities, and 17 other Jesuit colleges to pressure Congress to find a legislative alternative to DACA.

Arelis Palacios, the university’s associate director for undocumented student services, said future assistance will be tailored to each student, but declined to detail the assistance currently provided to students without documentation because of the individualized nature of the services.

One of the resources available to Georgetown students without documentation is free legal aid through two Catholic Charities locations in Washington, D.C.

The Georgetown University Student Association continued its own advocacy efforts most recently by hosting a phone bank on Feb. 1. About 150 students called their representatives in Congress to express their support for legislation to protect DACA recipients, according to Chas Newman (MSB ’18), co-secretary of congressional relations on the GUSA Federal and D.C. Relations Committee.

Palacios said the Feb. 1 phone bank was an important effort by the Georgetown community to demonstrate collective support for protecting DACA recipients.

“This was a tremendous display of allyship from student leaders and peers in support of our undocumented student population,” Palacios wrote in an email to The Hoya.

Casey Doherty (COL ’20), also co-secretary of congressional relations for the GUSA Federal and D.C. Relations Committee, emphasized the role phone banks play in helping students voice their opinions about DACA. Doherty is currently running for vice president of GUSA.

“We’ve had a couple different advocacy weeks and events regarding DACA, but we have always done a phone bank because we think that reaching out directly is effective,” Doherty said.

In December, GUSA held a weeklong GUHeretoStay campaign, an advocacy week that included letter-writing, a phone bank and a social media initiative that culminated in a demonstration on Capitol Hill. Newman said students are considering a final push for legislation to protect “Dreamers” this spring.

“We want people who don’t necessarily fall within the community to care and understand that while you might not be a ‘Dreamer,’ the person sitting next to you might be, and is just as smart as you and just as engaged on campus and proud to be an American as you are,” Doherty said. “What we’re trying to do is make students aware and also make elected officials aware that students do care.”

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  • M

    Manuel A. MirandaFeb 14, 2018 at 9:14 am

    When we consider the University’s overwhelming lobbying capacity, its support of Dreamers is paltry, cynical, and partisan. The real human tragedy is not among our few very, very, very lucky undocumented Hoyas, but with the parents of Dreamers, with the parents of anchor babies, and with the thousands of abandoned wives, elderly, and children left behind, whole villages without men, back in our home countries.

    When the University wants to take this human tragedy seriously, I am easy to reach. I would be glad to volunteer my time, and so would hundreds of other alumni, I am sure. Georgetown could make an enormous difference, but now it is just pandering and swimming in the intellectual shallows.

    Manuel A. Miranda, F ’82

    • J

      Jack the BullfrogFeb 16, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Thanks for the comment Manny! Was this the sort of disingenuous, faithless rhetoric you used while propping up the Iraqi government?

      The logical extension of your claim seems to be a central authority that decides whether men (interesting that you distinguished men) can leave their homes to support their families based on adherence to Republican family norms. I suppose you would argue that divorce should be illegal?

      What is your home country, Manny? Could you point out two or three of these Amazonian villages that apparently exist there?