President's Statement on DACA Rescission

Earlier today, Attorney General Sessions announced that President Trump is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  This program – created by President Obama in 2012 to protect eligible immigrant youth (many of whom came to the United States as young children) from deportation – today extends to nearly 800,000 people, many of whom are pursuing an education, many of whom are working legally.

This decision effectively leaves the question about the enactment of a successor program with the Congress.  The Jesuit Assistancy of Canada and the United States has recently issued a statement, urging all those who have concern about the welfare of those who have been allowed to learn and work under DACA, to contact their members of Congress urging their support of continued protections for these young people.  While there are some members of Congress who have signaled support for continued protections, others do not support them, or have not yet signaled their position on this issue.

As noted in my statement of last winter, in the Fall of 2016, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) each authored statements relating to “undocumented” students; I am a signatory to both.  The AJCU statement reads, in pertinent part:

Grounded in our Catholic and Jesuit mission, we are guided by our commitment to uphold the dignity of every person, to work for the common good of our nation, and to promote a living faith that works for justice. We see our work of teaching, scholarship and the formation of minds and spirits as a sacred trust.

That trust prompts us to labor for solidarity among all people, and especially with and for the poor and marginalized of our society. That trust calls us to embrace the entire human family, regardless of their immigration status or religious allegiance. And experience has shown us that our communities are immeasurably enriched by the presence, intelligence, and committed contributions of undocumented students, as well as of faculty and staff of every color and from every faith tradition.

The Statement goes on to make these four commitments:

  • To protect to the fullest extent of the law undocumented students on our campuses;
  • To promote retention of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA);
  • To support and stand with our students, faculty and staff regardless of their faith traditions;
  • To preserve the religious freedoms on which our nation was founded.

The DACA program is not a remote, theoretical issue; it is a local matter, affecting students and individuals who are part of the Gonzaga Community.  This morning’s presidential action related to the DACA program in no way affects our continued dedication to the four commitments referenced above. Together with colleagues from the Center for Global Engagement, Student Development, Gonzaga Student Body Association and its affiliated clubs and organizations, and the Office of General Counsel, we will continue our work to understand how this recent action affects current Gonzaga community members and their families, and are committed to working with, and on behalf of, these individuals as we together navigate this continually evolving situation.

I encourage any community member directly or indirectly affected by this action to avail themselves of the support system available here at Gonzaga and listed below.  I further encourage every member of our community to become educated about matters relating to immigration issues and the significant impact such matters have not only in the United States, but around the world.

Sincerely yours,

Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.
President, Gonzaga University
September 5, 2017

Gonzaga Resources:
International Student & Scholar Services
Hemmingson 102 | | 509-313-3648
Staff to provide immigration advising, make referrals to legal counsel as appropriate, and to provide support to international students and scholars.

Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Engagement
Hemmingson 317 | | 509-313-4100
In order to create a diverse and inclusive community, we utilize the principles of critical dialogue, reciprocity, and solidarity to facilitate learning that cultivates cultural engagement, enriches mindfulness, fosters a sense of belonging, and challenges systems of privilege and oppression.

Health & Counseling Services
704 E. Sharp | | 509-313-4052
A full team of mental and physical health providers are available for confidential one-on-one visits and small group counseling. Students can walk in any time or make an appointment. Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm; Thursday, 10am – 5pm

Center for Cura Personalis
729 E. Boone | | 509-313-2227
Case managers are available to meet with students to connect them with resources, provide support, and assist in navigating challenges that rise. Monday – Friday, 8am-4:30pm.

University Ministry
Hemmingson 104 | | 509-313-4242
The staff at University Ministry is available for all students, no matter what faith background. We are here to support our students in their faith and to provide whatever spiritual resources we can, including conversation and prayer. Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5pm.