Sent June 18, 9:32 a.m.
Dear Gonzaga Community Members:
Today’s United States Supreme Court decision related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program affirms the significance of the DACA program to our nation, and to the approximately 800,000 people affected by the status of this program. Today’s decision, in my view, affirms our longstanding commitment to protect and support our undocumented students and employees. The status of the DACA program – which remains a temporary approach to addressing complex, long-term challenges – is not a theoretical or abstract issue for Gonzaga University; it is a local and personal matter, affecting students and individuals who are part of our own community.
Like all Americans, DACA recipients are facing unprecedented new challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. It is noteworthy to mention that more than 200,000 DACA participants are working in industries and occupation groups that identify them as “essential critical infrastructure workers” based upon Department of Homeland Security guidance. At a time of tremendous societal fear and anxiety, the Supreme Court’s decision on DACA is of real consequence to DACA recipients and their families, our nation, and all of us at Gonzaga University who consider ourselves colleagues of faith in the spirit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s notion of a Beloved Community.
As a Jesuit, Catholic and humanistic university long committed to causes deeply rooted in our mission values, I wish first to affirm our fundamental commitments, reflected in our Mission Statement: “The Gonzaga experience fosters a mature commitment to the dignity of the human person, social justice, diversity, intercultural competence, global engagement, solidarity with the poor and vulnerable, and care for the planet.” For me, these words incur an obligation on the part of our university community to care for those among us who are vulnerable, and in need of support – and specifically includes our undocumented students and employees, here legally under the auspices of the DACA program.
Gonzaga University has consistently welcomed students, faculty and staff members from around the world, seeking to create a community of people that not only celebrates diversity, but works to authentically support individuals from every and any corner of the planet. This includes students, staff and faculty from nations in crisis. For many around the world, America has been, and remains, a beacon of hope – fierce guardian of religious liberty, defender of human rights, a nation that in its best incarnation lives out the true spirit at the heart of its declaration as an independent nation, “. . . with liberty and justice for all.” The history of America is the history of a nation created by people from many different nations and cultural backgrounds across time. Often these individuals fled war, famine, and religious persecution and came to the United States in search of a better life.
Together with colleagues from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), the Center for Global Engagement, the Division of Student Affairs, the Gonzaga Student Body Association (GSBA) and its affiliated clubs and organizations, the School of Law, and the Office of General Counsel, we will continue our work to support Gonzaga community members and their families, and we are committed to working in solidarity with, and on behalf of, these individuals.
I encourage any community member who might wish to avail themselves of the information/support system available here at Gonzaga to do so via the web links cited below. Additionally, the Catholic Charities Immigration Clinic at the Gonzaga Law School can provide assistance to families and individuals in search of resources related to immigration matters.
As members of a Jesuit and Catholic university, I encourage everyone to continue engaging the issues relating to immigration and the significant impact such matters have right here in the United States, as well as around the world. It is my fervent hope that the Congress of the United States will once again take up these matters and develop comprehensive legislation which result in humane immigration policies: policies fully reflective of the noble virtues enshrined in our Constitution; policies that work to eradicate systematic racism, and respect the fundamental humanity of every individual regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality; in short, policies befitting a nation possessed of a rich history, still overflowing with tremendous resources, promise, and potential.
Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.