University President John J. DeGioia condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, calling it an “unconscionable decision” in a university-wide email Tuesday night.
DeGioia also renewed his support for students without documentation in a statement posted to Facebook.
“As a nation, we have the capacity and responsibility to work together to provide a permanent legislative solution to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these young women and men who have—and will—contribute to the future of our country in deeply meaningful ways,” DeGioia wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.
DeGioia joined a number of university leaders nationwide who have spoken out on Trump’s decision to end DACA, an Obama administration directive that protected nearly 800,000 immigrants without documentation from deportation, by March 2018, including University of California Chancellor Janet Napolitano, Harvard University President Drew Faust and Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne.
DeGioia’s vocal support for students without documentation has mirrored an institutionalization of resources for the community, most recently through the schools’ hiring of Arelis Palacios as the first full-time associate director of undocumented student services. The university also launched a website compiling information and university resources for this community last year.
Georgetown student groups reacted swiftly to the White House announcement.
In a joint statement, La Casa Latina and the Black House reaffirmed their roles as safe spaces for affected students.
“Our homes are open if you need a space to breathe, reflect, or be in community,” the statement reads. “To our undocumented Hoyas, remember that you are loved and are valued members of the Georgetown community.
The Georgetown University Student Association executive emphasized diversity as an asset for Georgetown in a statement.
“We were extremely saddened to hear that the President has decided to end the protections under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” the statement reads. “Our student body is the ultimate source of our tradition of excellence, as our unique backgrounds, faith traditions, and lived experiences make us a shining example for the rest of the country and the world to follow.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called the decision “reprehensible.”
“Today, our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond,” a statement read. “It is a step back from the progress that we need to make as a country.”
At a press conference held in the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the decision to end DACA with a six-month delay, following a week of uncertainty over the Obama-era policy’s future. Ten states imposed a Tuesday deadline on the White House to scrap the program or face legal challenges.
Trump said in a statement that the Department of Homeland Security will begin an “orderly transition and wind-down of DACA” to minimize disruptions and will continue to prioritize criminals, security threats and repeat violators. Current DACA recipients are not priorities for the DHS unless they are criminals or are members of a gang, Trump wrote.
Former President Barack Obama criticized the Trump White House today, calling the decision “cruel” and “wrong.”
“To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong,” Obama wrote in a statement. “It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel.”
Authorized by executive order in 2012, DACA provided work authorization and legal protection to immigrants without documentation who arrived in the United States at a young age. The program has faced frequent legal challenges and scrutiny, including a successful 2014 case in which an appeals court sided with Texas and 25 other states in blocking expansion and implementation of the DACA program. In June 2016, the Supreme Court announced a 4-4 tie, extending the appeal court’s decision to block Obama’s plan.
Trump urged congressional action on immigration during the six-month period before DACA’s expiration.
I look forward to working w/ D's + R's in Congress to address immigration reform in a way that puts hardworking citizens of our country 1st.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017
“Congress now has the opportunity to advance responsible immigration reform that puts American jobs and American security first,” Trump wrote. “I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to finally address all of these issues in a manner that puts the hardworking citizens of our country first.”
This story has been updated.