Local college presidents sign national DACA support letter

Bellarmine University’s president, Susan M. Donovan, has joined five Kentucky college presidents to sign a statement in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program and undocumented immigrant students.

Susan Donovan

Last week, President Donald J. Trump “ordered an end to the Obama-era program that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation,” The New York Times reported, and urged Congress to pass a replacement before he begins phasing out its protections in six months.

According to Pomona College, a private liberal arts college in Claremont, Calif., more than 600 college and university presidents from public and private institutions across the U.S. have signed the statement offering to meet with U.S. leaders on the issue.

“Since the advent of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012,” the letter says, in part, “we have seen the critical benefits of this program for our students, and the highly positive impacts on our institutions and communities.”

Pomona said the presidents are urging business, civic, religious and nonprofit sectors to join them in supporting DACA and undocumented immigrant students.

Indeed, in her statement, posted on Facebook on Tuesday, Donovan wrote, in part: “Consistent with the mission and the founding of Bellarmine University, we are called to advocate for the education and welfare of those who cannot speak for themselves. We urge our civic leaders and our community to stand up for the ‘Dreamers’ and to enable them to become citizens and contributing members of our communities.”

Since its inception, Donovan wrote, “At least 800,000 ‘Dreamers’ have been protected from deportation.”

Also, last week, the University of Louisville released a statement from Gregory C. Postel, interim president, and Dale Billingsley, interim executive vice president and University Provost, that President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA “could harm many members of our university community, their families and their loved ones.”

The other Kentucky presidents who signed are Gary A. Ransdell, president emeritus of Western Kentucky University; Postel of the University of Louisville; Lyle Roelofs, president of Berea College; Seamus Carey, president of Transylvania University; and Bill Luckey, president of Lindsey Wilson College.

The Transylvania and Berea presidents both signed on last November when the Pomona letter first went out.