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Wooster responds to the announcement on DACA

Obama-era program for undocumented students may end in March of next year

Brandon Bell
News Editor

President Trump gave an order on Tuesday that closed applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and will completely revoke DACA status on March 5, 2018. Under the DACA program, some immigrant children who arrived in the United States without providing documentation were not prosecuted by immigration officials.

On Wooster’s campus, concern about the status of students and community members with DACA status began shortly after President Trump was elected. Last November, President Bolton addressed an email to the campus promising that the College would provide affected students with financial aid and would not share immigration information with authorities “without a specific court order.” In an email sent Tuesday, Bolton said that these commitments would be maintained.

“We are absolutely committed to the continued support of students who came to Wooster with DACA status, and to providing the financial aid needed to enable them to study here through their graduations,” Bolton said. “We will always protect personal information to the fullest extent possible under the law.”

Bolton also affirmed that the College had been in consultation with immigration attorneys, such as the Immigrant Worker Project in Canton. She said that the College would consider challenging a court order for immigration information if it believed the order to be unlawful.

However, Maria Garza ’19, president of Beyond the Border, a student organization that advocates for immigration, said that the decision would have an impact on the lives of Wooster’s community members both on and off campus.

“Some [DACA students] may not be able to continue their education, and being deported would be a constant fear present on campus and around the country,” Garza said. “Not only will DACA students endure this fear, but both family members and friends on and off campus will fear losing their loved ones.”

In her email, President Bolton directed concerned students to contact Jill Munro, the director of International Student Services, staff members with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion or the Dean of Students’ office, should they have personal concerns after this decision.

Although President Trump ordered the DACA program to be ended in March, Congress will be able to pass legislation to keep the program in place. To this end, Bolton joined the Presidents of other member colleges of the Five Colleges of Ohio in signing a letter to Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown asking him to “take legislative action” to maintain the program, defending that students and people with DACA status were “American in all but legal status.”

“DACA students — who have defied every obstacle in order to pursue education at our colleges and others around the state — are persistent, talented and successful members of our academic communities,” the letter said. “They grew up in our country, excelled in its high schools and now stand ready to contribute to our nation.”

Tuesday’s decision will not impact how Wooster enrolls students, but President Bolton said that it could prevent the College from hiring staff, unless new legislation is passed. The six-month period before the DACA program would be canceled was intended to give Congress a window to pass legislation affecting the program.

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One Response to “Wooster responds to the announcement on DACA”

  1. Ryan C says:

    “Our country”? That is so extremely divisive and exclusionary. As a Wooster student(*) I find this type of language triggering.

    * in all but admission status

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