Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program
I write in regard to the decision announced by the White House rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Congress now has six months to act to preserve the program’s protections before DACA recipients begin losing their status in the United States.
On November 21, 2016, I joined more than 600 college and university presidents across the United States in signing a statement calling for the DACA program to “be upheld, continued and expanded.” The almost 800,000 DACA beneficiaries or Dreamers—brought to America as children by their undocumented parents—have already been vetted by a rigorous application process and have resided in this country since 2007. They have been, and continue to be, contributing members of society. Many are exemplary scholars, student leaders and some even serve with distinction in the armed forces and pay the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Our University leadership will continue to monitor this ongoing situation and determine how best to respond and support those who are impacted by this recent decision. Any student who may have questions or concerns regarding this matter should contact the Division of Student Affairs at 718-990-6568.
I hope and pray that leaders in the federal government will negotiate and pass a comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a fair, just, and timely path forward for all those registered under the DACA program and for all those still living in fear in the shadows of our society. This year, St. John’s observes and celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism. The theme for the year is “Welcome the Stranger.” It is a fitting reminder of what our University stands for and our moral obligation to help those most in need.
Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D.