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Statement on DACA

| Wednesday, September 20, 2017

On Sept. 5, The White House announced that the administration had a plan in place to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months. DACA is a federal program that allows nearly 800,000 undocumented young people, or Dreamers, to live, study and work in the United States. These Dreamers were brought to this country as children, and have known no other place to be their home. Some of these Dreamers are dedicated members of our Notre Dame family, and now more than ever, they need our allyship. The decision to repeal DACA is cruel, hurtful and detrimental to the lives of our friends and loved ones, and we will not stand by as they are attacked.

Fr. Hesburgh once stated, “Notre Dame can and must be a crossroads where all the vital intellectual currents of our time meet in dialogue … where differences of culture and religion and conviction can co-exist with friendship, civility, hospitality, respect and love.” Today, we assert that those words still drive what we stand for. We are all Notre Dame. Documented or undocumented, we all call this place our home. We all share a passion for the common good, and a commitment the prosperity of this country. We strongly condemn the inhumane White House decision to repeal DACA and threaten the way of life for 800,000 young people, some of whom live, study and grow on this very campus.

The repeal of DACA affects every single member of our campus community. For the Dreamers among us, it potentially means a destructive blow to the stability of their lives and prospects for their future. It means living in fear of losing their families, education and the only country they’ve ever known as home. For every other student, it means potentially losing a member of our family, thereby upending the Notre Dame community and subsequently depriving the spirit of our University.

In line with our values of Catholic Social Teaching and the Notre Dame mission, we pledge to join our University’s administration in advocating, lobbying and fighting for a solution. In a statement shortly after the announcement, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops condemned the repeal of DACA: “The cancellation of DACA is reprehensible … Today’s actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future. DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American youth.” The repeal of DACA is contrary to both Catholic Social Teaching as well as the ethical code we uphold as members of the Notre Dame community.

The repeal of DACA is both a political and moral issue, but it is not a polarized one. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have come out in support of legislation such as the DREAM Act which would make DACA protections federal law. We applaud these political leaders, and urge Congress to take swift action in support of the Dreamers.

To our Congressional representatives, we urge that you pass legislation to ensure protections for our Dreamers. To our undocumented and DACA students, know that we support you, that we love you and that we will be your allies every step of the way. You are Notre Dame, and no piece of legislation, hate speech or executive announcement will ever change that.

Student Government and the Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy of Notre Dame (SCIA) have partnered to help bring our words to action. On Wednesday, a few us will be gathering at 9 p.m. at the St. Mary’s Lake picnic tables, across the street from the Grotto, to stand in solidarity with our Dreamers and all undocumented members of our community, and all are welcome to join. In the future, we will publicize call-ins and other ways to get involved, and please be in touch if you would like more information.

This country and this University were both founded on the shared commitment to all members of society. Today, we ask that all students, faculty and staff stay true to that mission and stand with the Notre Dame Family.

In Notre Dame,

 

Prathm Juneja

Student government chief of staff

junior

Rebecca Blais

Student body president

senior

Sibonay Shewit

Student body vice president

senior

Sept. 19

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • warmupthediesel

    So no justice for all of the people legally trying to immigrate to our country? What makes DACA folks so special? Is it a skin-color thing?

    • NDACA-mented

      There are white, asian, and black undocumented/DACA-mented people on campus and all over the country.

      It may be best if you just read this chart, it explains the reality of the US immigration process very clearly: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/b1/e4/0c/b1e40cf35579c777f75f0ea7dd851d94.jpg

      As for me, I have lived here since I was 4. My family came here (legally) and overstayed their VISAs because my brother was born with life-threatening disabilities that could not be treated in our country of origin, so my parents left everything behind literally to save his life. There was no other way for us to come here, and we have been trying to find a way to get residency for many years– in we have been literally scammed by people who take advantage of undocumented immigrants trying to get residency.

      Our presence here does not harm legal immigrants in any way. In fact, there are many mixed-status families, where the mother or father or child is legal, but other members of that family are undocumented and deportation would literally mean the destruction of that family.

      – A DACA student on campus

      • warmupthediesel

        Your family’s story is absolutely tragic and I wish you the best.

        Emotional anecdotes are just that…emotional. I know several foreigners here legally who struggle to maintain legal status to work here in the states. The few from Mexico/Central/Southern America have almost no shot at citizenship given how broken the current legal system is. IMO, they all have priority over you and your family as they are following the (admittedly broken) rules of the land. Justice is justice.

        Think about it. Because your family was able to cross the border, it disenfranchises every hopeful American citizen-to-be from places such as India.

        We all can agree the current immigration system is broken…but you’re actively advocating for not only violating the Constitution of this country (DACA violated the US Constitution), you’re already participating in violating its laws, too. Again, what did that poor hopeful-future-American in India do to be placed lower on the citizenship-status-ladder than you? They were born into tragic circumstances, I guess.

        • NDACA-mented

          I don’t understand why you think my presence here disenfranchises other immigrants. It does not. I cannot vote yet I (and my parents) pay taxes that citizens and legal immigrant benefit from, though I have no access to social services/benefits. Furthermore, I and many undocumented people advocate for immigration reform and against the increasing limitation of legal immigration into the US that has been proposed as of late. So we actually benefit legal immigrants in many ways, if nothing else. My presence here does not in any way harm legal immigrants or legal immigration; that is done by the broken immigration system, extremely long wait periods (that are not affected by illegal immigration), quotes, unfair policies and anti-immigrant discourse.

          Again, I refer you to the chart I gave you the link to. I showed you that so you could understand that my family and I were never going to even be able to apply for a green card because the US immigration system is closed to everyone who does not 1) have a close American citizen family tie by chance or 2) enough money to be sponsored by an American company. For every undocumented immigrant in the US, there was virtually zero opportunity to immigrate legally to the US from their countries of origin. So yeah, those who are wealthy and/or connected enough to be able to apply for residency from that start do literally have priority over me in this broken immigration system because I cannot get into the system. But that is only because of arbitrary and monetary circumstances.

          If we had abided by the (as you admitted) broke immigration system, my little brother would not be alive today. Please stop and think about what you and your family might have done in that situation, and think about whether that is truly justice to you.

        • NDACA-mented

          As for your point on the “unconstitutionality” of DACA: most of the assumptions made are actually based on inaccurate claims and a fundamental misunderstanding of the prgram. So I would like to clarify what it was:

          DACA did *not* grant mass (or any) amnesty to anyone, which is what many people assume and claim to be unconstitutional. It did *not* grant Lawful Presence in the US for applicants. Nor did it change or limit the law, nor did it affect how ICE carried out its enforcement policies beyond what is constitutionally sound for the President to do since deferred status is, in itself, actually something that ICE already granted to individuals before DACA. So, the relief an individual receives under DACA is identical for immigration purposes to the relief obtained by any person with DACA.

          The president’s DACA *was* an executive order that exercised the President’s power of prosecutorial discretion (not lack of thereof) which is well within constitutionality for the head of the Executive branch, and has historical precedence. It did not unilaterally create and enforce a law or limit the existing laws (which would be an encroachment on the Legislative Branch) but fell in line with the Take Care clause in the Constitution, which necessitates that the President choose how most effectively to enforce immigration law in this case given limited resources. President Obama’s executive action was based on commonsense immigration enforcement priorities that put law-abiding, non-criminal people like me on the lowest priority (which again was not something Obama just made up as he went; but rather, something ICE itself regularly did.)

          I have sources if you want to read them.

        • Matt Gordon
        • NDACA-mented

          I don’t understand why you think my presence here disenfranchises other immigrants. It does not. I cannot vote yet I (and my parents) pay taxes that citizens and legal immigrant benefit from, though I have no access to social services/benefits. Furthermore, I and many undocumented people advocate for immigration reform and against the increasing limitation of legal immigration into the US that has been proposed as of late. So we actually benefit legal immigrants in many ways, if nothing else. My presence here does not in any way harm legal immigrants or legal immigration; that is done by the broken immigration system, extremely long wait periods (that are not affected by illegal immigration), quotas, unfair policies and anti-immigrant discourse.

          Again, I refer you to the chart I gave you the link to. I showed you that so you could understand that my family and I were never going to even be able to apply for a green card because the US immigration system is closed to everyone who does not 1) have a close American citizen family tie by chance or 2) enough money to be sponsored by an American company. For every undocumented immigrant in the US, there was virtually zero opportunity to immigrate legally to the US from their countries of origin. So yeah, those who are wealthy and/or connected enough to be able to apply for residency from that start do literally have priority over me in this broken immigration system because I cannot get into the system. But that is only because of arbitrary and monetary circumstances.
          If we had abided by the (as you admitted) broke immigration system, my little brother would not be alive today. Please stop and think about what you and your family might have done in that situation, and think about whether that is truly justice to you.

          I am willing to continue this dialogue with you, because I know it is important. But my brother’s life is just that: a life. Do not reduce it to an “emotional anecdote” just to be able to brush it off.

        • NDACA-mented

          As for your point on the “unconstitutionality” of DACA: most of the assumptions made by individuals claiming that are actually based on inaccurate claims and a fundamental misunderstanding of the program. So I would like to clarify what it was:
          DACA did *not* grant mass (or any) amnesty to anyone, which is what many people assume and claim to be unconstitutional. It did *not* grant Lawful Presence in the US for applicants. Nor did it change or limit the existing law, nor did it affect how ICE carried out its enforcement policies beyond what is constitutionally sound for the President to do since deferred status is, in itself, actually something that ICE already granted to individuals before DACA. The fact is: the relief an individual receives under DACA (“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) is identical to the relief given by ICE through its deferred action.
          DACA *was* an executive order that exercised the President’s power of prosecutorial discretion (not lack of thereof) which is well within constitutionality for the head of the Executive branch, and has historical precedence. I emphasize: it did not unilaterally create and enforce a law or limit the existing laws (which *would* be an encroachment on the Legislative Branch) but rather, fell in line with the Take Care clause in the Constitution, which necessitates that the President choose how most effectively to enforce the law -in this case, immigration law- given limited resources. President Obama’s executive action was based on commonsense immigration enforcement priorities that put law-abiding, harmless people like myself on the lowest priority (which again was not something Obama just made up as he went; but rather, something ICE itself did on a regular basis.)
          I have sources if you want to read them.