LMU joined the list of colleges and universities who have signed the American Council of Education's (ACE) letter urging Congress to pass protections for DREAMers.
DREAMers is the term used for undocumented people who have qualified for this status under the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors Act (DREAM) and have lived most of their lives in the United States, according to World Relief. This means that often they were young children or infants when they arrived in the United States and had no say in the means of their immigration status, according to World Relief.
On Aug. 29 President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. tweeted, urging members of Congress to pass legislation for DREAMers under the now rescinded DACA policy. Snyder urged colleagues to sign a letter to Congress.
In the letter, the ACE called for “bipartisan legislation” that would enact “permanent protection for DREAMers.”
“Recently, on Twitter, I called on my colleagues to urge Congress to pass legislation to protect our DREAMers,” said Snyder to the Loyolan. “I am resolute that we not wait to tie their futures to some mammoth immigration reform bill. This divisive tactic leverages creative, loving, honorable human beings—and their families—as negotiating tools.”
President Snyder emphasized that the University has a “steadfast” commitment to supporting DREAMers. “As we approach the second anniversary of the rescission of DACA and await arguments in the Supreme Court, the higher education community must remind Congress of the benefits our country has experienced: DREAMers contribute to our communities and they strengthen our economy in ways profound,” said Snyder. “They represent what is best about America — the country in which they have been raised.”
In the wake of recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, DREAMers have been detained by officers regardless of their status, according to The Atlantic.
President Snyder responded to this by stating that he has informed the “general counsel” and “senior leadership” to protect undocumented students on campus “to the fullest extent of the law.” Snyder also referred to the Immigration FAQs on LMU’s Public Safety page. The page states that if an ICE or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer is seen on campus, it should be reported to DPS.
In response to the issue of whether or not DPS is obligated to work with or help immigration officers, the page states: “LMU is required to comply with its legal obligations. LMU is not required, and its policy is not to work voluntarily with ICE or CBP officers to apprehend and remove individuals alleged to be unlawfully in the United States.” If students are presented a warrant or a subpoena, they are instructed to tell the officer to first contact DPS, according to the LMU Public Safety Immigration FAQs.
Desiree Diaz, a junior journalism and communication studies double major and president of Resilience, spoke about how her organization relates to this. Resilience is an immigration awareness and advocacy group. Their main mission is to educate students and the broader community about advocacy regarding immigration and allyship for immigrant students.
Diaz has concerns with and feels that LMU hasn’t made its procedures clear enough. While Diaz is not undocumented, she understands the fears and pressures of everyday life when you are undocumented in today’s climate. “When these things come up, when they aren’t just things you read about, when they become applicable to your life ... it becomes very real ... think about that from immigrant students’ perspectives ... this is something that is very real to them. It affects the way that they live their lives,” said Diaz.
“When you have [undocumented students] on your campus and they are a part of your community then you have to stand up for them ... they can’t always do it for themselves because of that fear. That fear that something will happen to them, that fear that an ICE officer is going to come onto campus and the only thing that they could possibly do is direct them to DPS. That’s not enough,” said Diaz.
Diaz recommends anyone interested in making a change to get involved on campus. “So much of education and so much of social movements come on the backs of people of color and that’s kind of the atmosphere that we have here for a lot of things,” said Diaz. She believes that half the issue is getting students to care more and get more involved. However, she urges the administration to make it easier to keep students informed. “Blow up my email box ... send out things that are informative ... have people like President Snyder speak on this constantly,” said Diaz.
For students looking to get involved with immigration reform on campus, Diaz’s organization, Resilience, meets every other Wednesday, in St. Robert’s Hall 246 at 8 p.m. Their next meeting is on Oct. 2.