On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced his intent to phase out former President Barack Obama’s program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation. He called on Congress to replace the program in the next six months.
Some of the 800,000 young adults who were brought to the United States as children and now qualify for the program will be at risk of being deported. This number includes many Binghamton University students — the people next to you in class, the person who checked out your book at the library, your friends. In recognition of the significant potential consequences of Trump’s decision, both University President Harvey Stenger and the SUNY Student Assembly have issued statements in support of affected students.
In his statement, President Stenger endorsed a letter issued by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities calling on Congress to take action to protect DACA participants. Stenger also issued a reminder that “we stand firm in our commitment to protect student confidentiality under the Family Educational and Rights of Privacy Act (FERPA),” and reminded students that the University does not gather information about the citizenship or immigration status, and plans to continue that practice. The message was clear: If you are a student at BU, you’re here for a reason and you deserve to be here, regardless of your citizen status.
The SUNY Student Assembly echoed this sentiment, writing, “Students must be given the right to live and learn in safe, welcoming, and inclusive campus environments. Regardless of one’s position in the larger immigration debate, DACA recipients are Americans, through and through.”
We stand with Stenger and the SUNY SA for their messages regarding this matter. This issue is especially urgent for SUNY schools, including BU, as students from across the state and world come to these institutions to study. It’s important that public colleges remain open to all students, as the ultimate aim of public schools is to provide an education to all. Students affected by Trump’s decision should know that they are not only safe here at BU, but actively supported by their peers and Stenger.
If there’s one thing students at BU have consistently proven, it’s that protesting injustices is of the utmost importance. BU students are well-equipped to take action, and now is the time to step up to the plate: It’s time to pick up the phone and call your senators, hold more letter-writing campaigns, as a group of BU students following the women’s march in January, attend marches and voice your concerns at town hall meetings. It is our responsibility to fight against this decision in any way we can and protect our friends who need us now. We must come together to protect the community we have worked to foster — and everyone in it.