Jesuit University Education Deans Speak Out for DACA Recipients

BY ISN STAFF | January 29, 2018

The academic deans of schools or departments at all twenty-eight U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities have issued a statement in support of  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The statement was shared in the form of an op-ed published in The Hill today, written by Shane P. Martin, Ph.D., dean of Loyola Marymount University School of Education, who wrote on behalf of twenty-seven other colleagues, all members of Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Conference of Education Deans.

“Deporting these young people just as they are poised to make strong contributions to this country — after investing so many resources to educate them in our public schools — is poor public policy and not in the public interest,” said the statement.

Today’s statement is just one of many from the Jesuit network since President Trump took office in January 2017 regarding the situation of undocumented young people, including DACA recipients. Just prior to the September 5 announcement of the termination of the DACA program by the Trump administration, over 1,200 educators in Jesuit higher and secondary education called on President Trump to reconsider his then-pending decision regarding DACA. In late September 2017, the student government presidents of the AJCU schools showed their support for their DACA-recipient peers studying at Jesuit institutions. In late October, Father Michael Sheeran, S.J., president of AJCU, made a direct plea to Jesuit-educated members of Congress to respond to the situation of undocumented young people during a press conference on Capitol Hill in support of the Dream Act.

The Ignatian Solidarity Network has mobilized tens of thousands of advocates to call for humane immigration policies, including calling for the passage of the Dream Act of 2017, which would provide access to a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented young people with temporary immigration status.

The full statement by the education deans can be found here. To call on Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017, click here.

Jesuit college and high schools listen to José Arnulfo Cabrera, a Xavier University senior and DACA recipient during a rally on Capitol rally on Capitol Hill in November 2017.

4 replies
  1. Jim Thomasson
    Jim Thomasson says:

    Will these deans pay extra taxes for all the welfare, medical expenses and billions of dollars that it takes to cloth, feed and minister to the protesters that burn the American Flag and raise the flag of Mexico? We don’t need another third world country as has California become.

    It is easy for the deans to preach from the Hill Tower, and not raise a hand to help America.

  2. Christopher Kerr
    Christopher Kerr says:


    Thanks for your comment. We appreciate that you took time to read about the advocacy of the deans at Jesuit education schools, even if you do not agree with it. Their statement is consistent with Catholic Social Teaching and the calls of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    Persons who are undocumented, and in particular young people in the DACA program referenced in the letter, are not eligible for social safety net programs generally speaking — this would include medicaid or other such programs. However, these individuals do pay taxes — income, property, sales, etc. In fact, they also pay into a social security system they will never benefit from.

    I am not familiar with your references to burning the U.S. flag — though it is important to note that there is no law against burning a U.S. flag.

    Undocumented young people who are DACA recipients come from many parts of the world, including, but not limited to Mexico. I have met DACA recipients from Central America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa.

    Having traveled to many parts of the world struggling with economic poverty, I can assure you that the reality of life for people in the United States is nothing like that which many of our brothers and sisters face.

    In actuality, the Deans are not preaching from their towers — they are preaching from places where they come in contact with DACA recipients in classrooms, academic advising offices, etc. They have come to know them as students simply seeking to be educated. Please contact me if you would like the opportunity to speak with someone who is a DACA recipient to better understand their situation and why the education deans are advocating on their behalf. I would be happy to set-up such an opportunity.

    Chris Kerr
    Executive Director
    Ignatian Solidarity Network

  3. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Young people – they are the future torch-bearers of our Planet. May they be blessed with a happy present and a bright future.

  4. Joan
    Joan says:

    I think Jim Thomasson has a point when he says the deans are preaching from a “tower” if what he means is that they are removed from *significant* contact with the illegal immigrants…. While I don’t know every individual dean’s situation, as a group, I think it is likely that they really don’t have much skin in the game. Since they are decently paid, they likely (and understandably) live in good neighborhoods and suburbs. Most of the families in these towns are intact. If they have kids, their own kids are in good school systems. School resources are not being siphoned off for buttressing a lot of social ills, etc.

    Nothing against the deans personally. I believe their intentions are very good. But, by and large, they can avoid the real costs that many others cannot.

    On a different note … I haven’t heard anyone mention this kind of thing:

    Let’s imagine for a second that all of these well-educated, high-achieving, virtuous DACA recipients were required to return to their homes. Wouldn’t this be, in effect, a large free gift from the USA to these other countries? Just think: all these countries would get a great workforce at essentially no cost to themselves? …

    Imagine the contribution they’d make to the US if allowed to stay. Next, imagine how much greater that same contribution would be in these other countries. … There really should be word or a concept to capture this sense of ‘greater …’

    I don’t know … something like … magis … ??



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