WASHINGTON DC – Responding to the growing fear that undocumented individuals may face marginalization from President-Elect Trump’s administration, twenty-seven Jesuit college and university presidents and the president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities released a statement today. The statement is one of a number of collective efforts by public and private higher education leaders to demonstrate their solidarity with undocumented students, many of whom currently have temporary immigration status under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) program.
Numerous Jesuit university presidents have already been outspoken advocates for undocumented students in recent weeks, including Fr. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., president of University of San Francisco, who clearly showed his support during an interview with CNN earlier this month, saying “We will use every legal means to protect [undocumented students].”
Earlier this month, the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN), in partnership with the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, hosted a conference call for over 100 educators at Jesuit colleges and universities. During the call, faculty and administrators engaged in dialogue with staff from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network and shared ways their campuses are responding to the needs of undocumented students. A similar call was hosted by ISN for Jesuit high school and middle school faculty and administrators a few days later. Listservs and resource websites have been established by ISN to further network these groups as they work with institutional leaders to determine how they will support undocumented students as well as other community members, including employees, family members, etc.