A reflection on President Kaler’s response to Trump’s abrupt termination of DACA
In early September, on the first day of the fall semester, all students, staff, and faculty received an email confronting an upsetting announcement made that morning by Donald Trump. Our president had declared an abrupt end to the young federal initiative Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In ending DACA, Trump seeks to shed protections for approximately 800,000 undocumented minors, or Dreamers. Many Dreamers attend the U, and therefore are faced with an immediate and existential threat to their educations and lives in the United States.
The email we all received on September 5 was a response penned by President Kaler designed to quell worries harbored by those students protected by DACA and campus members uncertain of the fates of many of their neighbors, classmates, and friends. Kaler’s response was smart yet pointed, ensuring that the university will sanction “everything possible under law” to care for those students affected by Trump’s decision.
Most importantly, though, Kaler urged affected students to contact the Immigration Response Team, an on-campus resource for undocumented students which organized in April. Although it provides necessary support for immigrants at the U, the team was only formed due to a loud and persistent call since the 2016 Presidential Election for the university to become a “sanctuary campus.” This designation would grant undocumented students of the campus community an assurance of the same freedoms to privacy, employment, and education enjoyed by American citizens. Sanctuary campuses have been officially adopted by 9 postsecondary institutions across the nation and demanded by campus communities at dozens more. Thus, the most powerful rebuke Kaler and the university can express against Trump’s threatening anti-immigration diatribe would be to designate our own campus as an academy, community, and home for all people, as a sanctuary for Dreamers.