September 5, 2017
Today we learned that the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will come to an end in six months unless there is legislative action to protect it. This decision could have extremely serious consequences for students on all three of our campuses who are an integral part of our community. I want to reassure every affected person that if DACA ends, the University of Washington will do everything within its power to minimize the disruption to your lives and education. We also support all efforts to restore the protections that DACA has provided, including legal actions planned by Washington State Attorney General and UW alumnus Bob Ferguson.
DACA was designed to put the American dream within reach for more than 800,000 young people who were brought to this country as children without documentation. By granting these students the opportunity to pursue their education and livelihood without fear of deportation, DACA has come to embody the best of America. These students have added so much richness, knowledge, courage and strength to our community and our nation as a whole that more than 600 university presidents and chancellors, including the leaders of every public university in our state, have written the White House to express their full support for the program.
As Provost Baldasty and I wrote last November, the UW strives to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of everyone in our community. Our long-standing policies do not permit us to provide immigration officials with information about our students or allow immigration officials to enter UW classrooms or residence halls without a court order. Additionally, the UWPD does not and will not inquire about immigration status when they detain, question or otherwise interact with people. And Seattle and King County officials have affirmed that local law enforcement will continue their policy barring officers from asking about immigration status.
The decision to revoke DACA will not affect financial aid provided by the UW. Legislation to uphold the state’s commitment to providing financial aid to DACA students is expected to be introduced in the next state legislative session.
Students, faculty or staff seeking individual guidance can find resources, including an ally directory, at UW Leadership Without Borders Center or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Last week, we reached out to students enrolled in DACA to direct them to appropriate resources should they be needed.
Ending DACA diminishes us all. It breaks the promise our country made to these students when we urged them to enroll in the program, to be proud and unafraid. We join with leaders in higher education, industry, government, religious institutions and humanitarian agencies across the nation in calling for congressional action to restore the program quickly.
Discontinuing the program doesn’t just threaten the security and futures of Dreamers. It also threatens to erode our nation as a democracy that has embraced the diverse talents and contributions of generations of immigrants, including our country’s founders.
Our values as a University are clear and will not waver. To you, our DACA Dreamers, I stand with you, UW’s leaders stand with you and your University stands with you.
Dr. Ana-Mari Cauce, President, University of Washington