Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber sent a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday urging them to place the highest priority on legislation that would provide immediate and long-term protection for young people enrolled in or eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA.
“It is within the power of Congress to give these young people the protections and peace of mind that DACA provided, and going beyond that, a path to permanent residence and citizenship,” Eisgruber wrote. “I strongly believe that such action would be in the national interest, in addition to being very much the right thing to do. I hope Congress will take this action, and will take it quickly.”
Rutgers University officials sent the following letter to students and staff members on Tuesday:
We are writing to you in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement today regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for undocumented immigrants. The Administration today gave a six-month deadline to the Congress to legislatively enact a program for DACA-eligible immigrants, or the program will end.
Obviously, we need to pull together to urge quick action in the House and Senate.
Ending the program would be wrong, unwise, and inconsistent with American values. The young people who have applied for DACA protection in the hope of a productive and successful life in this country came forward and provided their personal information to the federal government in good faith. Rescinding this protection, after they have voluntarily identified themselves, is diametrically opposed to any sense of fairness, let alone compassion for their situation.
We recognize the stress that this decision is having on our undocumented students and their families, and to these students we want to be very clear in saying that nothing has changed for you in regard to your relationship with Rutgers. You remain a vital and valued part of our community of scholars, and we will continue to do all we can to support your successful completion of a Rutgers degree.
Those Rutgers students who are covered by the New Jersey DREAM Act, which has enabled many undocumented students who are longtime residents of our state to attend at in-state tuition rates, will continue to be eligible for this benefit. The university was successful in advocating for a NJ DREAM Act that did not rely on DACA, and it was the right decision.
Rutgers will continue to employ admissions policies that do not consider immigration status, and will continue to protect the privacy of all our students. This means the university will not provide student records to anyone unless required by a warrant, subpoena, or court order, and we will continue to offer support and legal guidance to any student who seeks it.
Unless Congress acts within six months, undocumented students who had been protected from deportation by DACA for a renewable two-year period will lose that protection and will, at that point, also no longer be eligible to receive a work permit. Even if the ultimate elimination of DACA does not lead to imminent deportation, it would be a very troubling decision that harms good people who have done nothing wrong, and we are determined to do all we can to advocate for action that preserves the protections offered by DACA.
The most effective solution to this problem is to enact federal legislation, such as the BRIDGE Act, a bill with broad bipartisan support in Congress, with an amendment that would extend DACA protections until comprehensive immigration reform is enacted. As you may recall, our students’ advocacy efforts earlier this year led to more than 20,000 electronic letters being sent to members of the House and Senate urging enactment of the BRIDGE Act. Now is the time to redouble our efforts. You will be receiving a separate e-mail outlining how members of our community who want to help undocumented students can engage in this effort.
In the meantime, let us again assure students that we are committed to supporting all of you as you make your way toward a Rutgers degree, and we wish all of you a rewarding academic year.
Robert Barchi, President
Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Rutgers University–Newark
Deba Dutta, Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Phoebe Haddon, Chancellor, Rutgers University–Camden
Brian Strom, Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
The municipality of Princeton
Mayor Liz Lempert issued the following statement on behalf of the governing body on Wednesday:
Ending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a cruel decision that will tear apart
families, undermine our economy and betrays our values. DACA recipients are in school and
college, holding jobs, paying taxes and contributing to our local and national economies. Some
have started families.
Princeton continues to stand as a welcoming community that recognizes that all our residents —
regardless of immigration status– make vital contributions to the success of our town. We
urge Congress to act quickly to create an immigration system that is fair, just and moral. In our
community, we will work with our local residents to understand the impact of this decision and
continue to support them.
Residents can call our Human Services Department at 609-688-2055 or visit our website for information and referrals to legal services. In addition, we will proudly celebrate the diverse contributions of the many immigrants in Princeton during Welcoming Week, September 15-24.
We will updated this post as more statements are issued by area leaders.