Pollack urges Trump to support DACA program

Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack sent the following letter to President Donald Trump Aug. 31 to express her “deepest concerns” about Trump’s plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, a policy in force since 2012, protects those who came to the United States – including some Cornell students – who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

“On behalf of Cornell University, I write to share my deepest concern with news reports indicating that you intend to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, as part of your Administration’s response to a legal challenge by several states. If these reports are correct, I strongly urge you to reconsider and allow DACA to continue as it has since 2012, and to defend the program on its merits in court. 

“Cornell University was founded in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War as an institution ‘where any person can find instruction in any study,’ with a commitment to diversity and inclusion from the start. DACA students are an integral part of our university community. They were brought to our country before they had a choice in the matter, have grown up in our culture, and are succeeding here, despite challenges and obstacles that you and I can only imagine. 

“Like you, I believe that our DACA students are ‘incredible kids.’ I’ve watched them blossom under the provisional status afforded by the program, as they pursue their dreams and develop their talents without fear of deportation. It would be more than a shame if you act to extinguish so many bright and productive futures just as they are getting started. Instead, I encourage you to work with Congress to pass legislation to allow DACA students to remain in our country, at home, where they belong. 

“In the meantime, I reiterate my hope that you will preserve and defend the DACA program.”

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John Carberry