Statement on DACA
Letter to the Editor | 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,
Student government chief of staff
Student body president
Student body vice president
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.