President Ron Liebowitz emailed a statement Tuesday denouncing President Trump’s plan to end the Deferred Action against Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA.
“This news is very upsetting, undermines the academic endeavors of our own students, and is contrary to our basic values,” Liebowitz said.
DACA, since its implementation in June 2012, has protected around 800,000 undocumented children living in the United States from deportation, and allowed them to work and study legally. Liebowitz noted that there are Brandeis students who are DREAMers (children protected under DACA).
Liebowitz said the university is committed to doing whatever is possible to help.
“To the students directly affected by this decision and to everyone at Brandeis: we remain committed to the safety, well-being, and educational success of our all our undocumented students,” he said. “That commitment will not change.”
Trump is giving Congress six months to decide whether they will reform, maintain or do away with DACA, meaning there is still time before any new laws would be enforced. Brandeis, along with other universities, is using this time to figure out the best way to proceed.
“At this time, we are consulting with other universities and immigration attorneys to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our undocumented students safe and in school. As we learn more about how to address this situation, we will inform the campus of our progress,” Liebowitz said.
Not only did Liebowitz voice his disagreement of Trump’s plan to the Brandeis community, he also sent a letter to the White House, which he included in the statement he sent out.
In the letter, Liebowitz speaks of the positive contributions Dreamers have made to the U.S. “Dreamers and others affected by DACA regularly contribute to the health of our entire community, and play a special role in higher education, where they are embraced and welcomed,” he said. “Through no fault of their own, these young people have arrived in the United States, have expressed loyalty to this country, and have provided service and benefits to our society.”
Liebowitz is not the only one asking Trump to keep DACA; the presidents of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Cornell, Amherst, NYU and Duke have also written personal letters to Trump in support of DACA, according to an article in The Atlantic.
Liebowitz strongly urged Trump to maintain DACA. “As a nation founded by immigrants, we can, should, and must do better…I implore you to exercise political courage and moral leadership in maintaining DACA and upholding the highest traditions of American values,” he said.