Ignatian Solidarity Network

Jesuit College and University Presidents Join Call for DHS Secretary John Kelly to Protect Immigrant Students

BY ISN STAFF | May 24, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 65 presidents of Catholic colleges and universities, as well as the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, are urging Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to clarify the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies regarding recipients of Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  

In a letter released this week and coordinated by Faith in Public Life, the presidents are requesting a meeting with Secretary Kelly, who is Catholic, to discuss the administration’s policies and request that he take steps to protect their immigrant students who are at risk of deportation.

“As leaders of Catholic colleges and universities, we are dedicated to educating students from all backgrounds,” the letter states. “Our shared faith calls us to protect the most vulnerable among us. Over the years, we have opened the doors of our colleges and universities to Dreamers and advocated for comprehensive immigration reform so that they and their families can live safe, full lives in our country.”

Signatories include the presidents from 13 Jesuit universities: Fordham University, Rockhurst University, University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, Fairfield University, Xavier University, Loyola University New Orleans, Loyola Marymount University, Marquette University, Gonzaga University, Spring Hill College, and Saint Peter’s University.   

Miriam Uribe, University of San Francisco ’17, speaks about her experience as an undocumented student and the need for humane immigration policies during the 2015 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice.

“Catholic higher education has a proud history of serving immigrant populations,” said Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., President of Loyola University New Orleans. “Students we educate make vital contributions to the nation. It’s morally wrong and strains common sense to send these young men and women back to countries they do not know when they contribute so much here. We are committed to doing everything we can to protect these students. We urge Secretary Kelly and President Trump to do the same.”

“For more than two centuries, Catholic higher education has welcomed students on society’s margins, including those whose families immigrated to the United States,” said Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D., President, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. “Our campuses are home to students from around the world who seek to contribute to American society, to the life and mission of the Church, and to their own formation and growth. When Pope Francis visited the United States in 2015, he made special mention of the ‘many gifts’ that immigrants bring to this nation. We affirm those gifts and remain committed to educating young people, brought to the United States by their parents, who come to our universities seeking only to build a brighter future.”

“At Trinity, we stand in solidarity with our Dreamers and immigrants across the nation in authentic witness to the dignity and worth of every human life,” said Patricia McGuire, President of Trinity Washington University, who was recently awarded ISN’s Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice Award. “No nation can claim greatness by treating our youth as dispensable because of conditions for which they are not responsible. We reject as cruel and immoral, and will resist to the greatest extent possible, any government effort to harm our students and their families.”

To read the letter and view the full list of signers, click here.