On Sept. 5, President Donald Trump made the decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). Seton Hall administrators and students alike provided encouraging words to those potentially affected by the rescindment.
DACA, a program instituted by the Obama administration, allows young people brought to this country illegally by their parents to receive a temporary reprieve from deportation. In addition, the young people would receive permission to work and study.
Interim President Dr. Mary Meehan explained in a University-wide email what SHU’s community should expect as DACA’s repeal unfolds.
“Seton Hall is home to all of you—regardless of citizenship status—and we will continue to stand by those of you who are harmed by the elimination of DACA,” Meehan wrote.
Additionally, Meehan emphasized that the DACA decision is in direct opposition of the University’s mission.
“Seton Hall does not ask students their legal status so we do not know how many of our current students could be affected by DACA, or how this could impact enrollment in the future, but we do know that the decision to room back DACA is antithetical and on direct conflict with our mission,” Meehan wrote in a separate email to The Setonian.
Outside of Seton Hall’s support, undocumented immigrants experience a less auxiliary atmosphere.
For a period of five years, about 800,000 undocumented immigrants have had the opportunity to live in the United States without the looming fear of being deported, according to CNN.
Vice President and Dean of Students, Karen Van Norman reiterated the University’s stance on the Trump administration’s soon-to-be repeal of DACA.
“Let me be very clear—nothing about any student’s status has changed at the University,” Van Norman said. “Nothing that has been done by the Trump administration changes how Seton Hall University views any of our students, especially our students who were protected DACA.”
Seton Hall students provided their perspectives about the DACA decision.
“I feel like people came to this country for a new life and for freedom. Some are persecuted in their countries and are refugees, but now they may have to leave forever,” Ishani Sanyal, a freshman studying psychology, said.
Feven Kebede, a freshman studying nursing, had similar feelings.
“I agree with Ishani. They believed they had a new life and chances, but that could be coming to nothing at all,” Kebede said.
Nursing student, Germania Paradis, said, “These are kids we’re talking about in a lot of situations. They have to return to a country where they don’t even know the language; it’s not really theirs.”
“I heard about how in California, there are children afraid to go to school because they’ll be taken away. These people have come to America to read, write, get their educations and find jobs,” Paradis said.
Student Government Association President Christina Simon discussed via email SGA’s initiatives addressing DACA.
“We believe that we can make a difference in two ways: by promoting voter registration and by writing letters to Congressmen. SGA will be hosting numerous outreach events on campus leading up to November during which students can register to vote via Turbovote,” Simon wrote.
Simon added the SGA will co-sponsor the (UGC) Unified Greek Council’s event on Sept. 14 with a cohort of social justice and cultural organizations. This event intends to educate attendees about DACA and implore them to write letters to their congressional representatives, according to Simon.
Meehan advises any community members who feel vulnerable or unsafe to use campus resources:
“We sincerely urge those of you who feels threatened in this way to reach out to Campus Ministry and CAPS counselors for assistance,” Meehan wrote.
In addition, an Immigration Law Society DACA event will occur at the Law School in room 373 on Thursday, Sept. 14 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m, according to Meehan.
Taylor Cain, a senior diplomacy major, held a DACA demonstration by Seton Hall’s seal, protesting Trump’s decision. Cain, the daughter of an Irish immigrant, expressed her reasons for arranging the event explaining that she believes immigrants should have an opportunity at the American Dream.
“I want to send a general message of support to any of the undocumented students who are on campus or in the community to make sure that they know there’s support out there for them,” Cain said.
CNN said that some arguments against DACA say that illegal immigration is promoted by the program. Also, the controversial legality regarding DACA’s institution by executive order via the Obama administration causes concern for many.
Dean of Students Karen Van Norman invites students to get civically engaged and contact your representatives.
“Finally, I would encourage anyone who cares about this issue to speak up and get involved. Now is the time to call, write, email, text, and tweet to your Congressman or Senator,” she said. “The only way we can make this better is through legislation. We have six months for Congress to get this done.”
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