Students have circulated a petition through social media calling for the university to hire a full-time coordinator for students living in the country without documentation. The petition was launched Nov. 1 by the student group UndocuHoyas in partnership with Hoyas for Immigrant Rights, another student-led organization, and has amassed more than 700 signatures to date. This was prompted by the issues these groups see students without documentation on this campus facing, as well as the loss of their former coordinator, Cinthya Salazar.
Students who are interested in the well-being of their peers should sign this petition, and the university should hire a permanent coordinator for undocumented students in our community. This petition requires almost nothing on the behalf of those who sign — only a few minutes to read and fill out a Google form. But its result could be immensely valuable for the undocumented community at Georgetown.
This editorial board calls on university officials to honor their promise, made on the Undocumented Student Resources page of the Georgetown University website, to support all Georgetown students, regardless of their immigration status, and hire a full-time coordinator to assist students living without documentation at Georgetown. Duties of a full-time coordinator would include connecting students with resources on campus, serving as a base of support and advocating on the behalf of undocumented students — among other potential responsibilities.
In the aftermath of President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the election, individuals who are living in the country without documentation face a new threat to their safety. The president-elect promised on “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening to deport 2 million to 3 million people living in this country. Those living without documentation have always been at risk in this country, but Trump’s election should make that danger clearer to everyone. Rather than being some distant threat, the next president has made strong anti-immigrant policies central to his platform. These policies are very present in the normal discourse at Georgetown, so students cannot feign ignorance to the issues facing their undocumented peers.
Georgetown must not wait any longer to take action to support students living without documentation. Hiring a full-time staff member requires additional or reallocated funding by the university, but it is necessary to be proactive in helping students access resources and prevent them from facing additional harms, such as losing their ability to continue to attend Georgetown or, at worst, even being deported.
By signing the petition, not only would students express their interest to the university in hiring a full-time coordinator, but they would also demonstrate their solidarity with the undocumented community at Georgetown. Students without documentation dealing with issues such as marginalization and a lack of institutional support cannot and should not be expected to do this all on their own.
We ought to follow the precedent of institutions like the University of California, San Diego, which established a full-time coordinator for undocumented students and all the complementary resources necessary to advocate for these students.
Beyond signing the petition, students need to continue advocating for the rights of students without documentation. Important conversations with administrators will have to continue so that important measures, like the establishment of this coordinator position, are not brushed to the side for months on end. While this issue is complex and unable to be solved overnight, signing the UndocuHoyas petition can begin the process of developing a greater base of support for students without documentation. This petition is the important first step to improving the quality of the Georgetown experience for students living here without documentation.