President Donald J. Trump campaigned on the promise to expel illegal immigrants from the nation. Under President Obama, undocumented students were protected, but that could change.
What is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was part of former President Barack Obama’s executive actions that provide protective status to undocumented immigrants. Enacted in June 2012, DACA gave protective status to people who entered the United States illegally when they were children under the age of 16. The children of undocumented immigrant parents could request protection from deportation for up to two years, with the possibility of renewal. This status is called “deferred action” and does not count as lawful citizenship.
Who does DACA protect at Loyola?
DACA protects undocumented students attending Loyola. The university’s MAGIS Scholarship Fund takes $2.50 out of every student’s tuition to pay for the scholarship, which allows 5 undocumented students to attend Loyola annually with free tuition and housing.
Guidelines for applying
In order to qualify for deferred action, an applicant must:
- Have been under 31 years old on June 15, 2012.
- Have entered the country before turning 16.
- Have continuous residence in the nation since June 15, 2007.
- Have been physically present in the nation on June 15, 2012.
- Have no lawful status.
- Currently attend school, have graduated or have obtained a high school degree or a GED (general education certificate), or be an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. military.
- Not have committed and been convicted of a felony in the nation.
The Trump Administration’s stance
President Donald J. Trump has said he wishes to abolish all of Obama’s executive actions on immigration, so DACA could be reversed if Trump keeps his campaign promise. In an August campaign speech in Phoenix, Trump spoke out against what he saw as Obama’s unconstitutional action of granting protection to undocumented people within the United States.
“We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the Constitution to give amnesty to approximately five million illegal immigrants,” Trump said in his speech.
Undocumented students would then lose deferred action status if the executive order is terminated.
Loyola as a “sanctuary campus”
At an anti-Trump protest on Jan. 20, multiple Loyola student speakers called for Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney to declare Loyola a sanctuary campus to protect undocumented students should Trump abolish DACA. A sanctuary campus is a campus in which the human rights and dignity of all students are protected regardless of immigration status, according to a November petition addressed to President Rooney. The petition also says the university should provide as much legal protection as possible against deportation of undocumented students and provide protection from harassment on campus. On Nov. 30, President Rooney signed a statement of support for undocumented students issued by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU). The AJCU statement said signed schools will promote DACA and protect undocumented students on their campuses to the “fullest extent of the law.”