On Sept. 5, President Donald Trump announced plans to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He gave Congress six months, until March 5 of 2018, to come up with a replacement plan.
DACA provides opportunities for children who were brought here illegally to obtain a work permit and to go to school. Minors are eligible for DACA if they were brought to the US when under the age of 16.
In his statement on Sept. 5th, the Chancellor of the University of Dallas and bishop of the archdiocese of Dallas, Bishop Edward Burns, called the cancellation of the program “truly heartbreaking.”
“DACA youth are an important part of our country and our Church, and should be given every opportunity to a better life,” Burns reflected. “As the Bishop of the Diocese, in solidarity with these young people and their families, I know that these developments hurt our parish communities, and in turn, negatively impact our entire Diocesan family and country.”
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services quarterly report, Texas has the second highest number of DACA recipients in the nation, totaling almost 258,000. In addition, Dallas county has the second highest number of total DACA recipients in the state, with 42,000 total eligible and potentially eligible recipients.
According to the Director of Financial Aid, Taryn Anderson, six students are currently enrolled in DACA at UD and have applied for financial aid.
Elizabeth Griffin Smith, Director of Admissions at UD, said in an email, “A student’s DACA status has no impact on their admittance to UD. DACA students are reviewed for admission in the same manner that all other students are.”
“Currently, the Admission Office has no plans to change its procedures with regard to DACA students and is going to wait and see the future of DACA, as congressional action could still be taken,” Smith said.
President Thomas Keefe assured all UD students that they will continue to receive university support.
Keefe said in an email to the student body on Sept. 6, “We stand with our bishops in urging our representatives to establish a just and legal resolution of the standing of these young people. We offer support and prayers for these youth, their families, friends and colleagues.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a statement denouncing the termination of DACA. “The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible. It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families.”
Bishop Burns echoed the bishops from the USCCB. “I join my brother bishops throughout the United States in strongly urging Congress to act immediately to find a legislative solution.”