Remarks and Messages

Eric Jensen
Eric R. Jensen

Response to DACA Action

Sept. 6, 2017

Students, faculty and staff,

Last winter, in the context of an immigration-limiting executive order by President Trump, I wrote that Illinois Wesleyan University remains strongly committed to providing a supportive environment in which each of our students can become confident, participatory members of a global society. We define ourselves as a diverse, inclusive and welcoming campus, with the understanding that education in the context of diversity – whether of nationality, race, religion, thought or any of the other forms that diversity may take – creates the richest learning environment. We respect and value our fellow students, educators and staff across geographic and cultural boundaries, and stand with institutions of higher learning throughout the country in insisting that it is critical that the United States continues to welcome scholars of all backgrounds and nationalities.

I write today specifically to reassert these claims in light of the recent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) action by the Justice Department, and to reassure each of you that none of that has changed. University policy protects against discrimination on the basis of age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin, and student records are subject to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protection. Neither immigration nor citizenship status is released without a student’s permission, unless there is proper legal authority such as a subpoena or court order.

On campus, we must, as always, support each other in a time of need. Students have organized a gathering to raise awareness and show support of our DACA students over the  noon  hour on Sept. 7, in front of Joslin Atrium. Locally, formal legal information, counseling and referral is available from  The Immigration Project  in Bloomington. At the national level, matters are in flux. There are threats by state Attorneys General to sue to preserve DACA as it stands, but long-term resolution likely rests with Congress. While there have been  several pieces of legislation  introduced, the 2017 DREAM Act (S.1615 & H.R. 3440) has bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. I will write our Congressional delegation on behalf of IWU’s DREAMers, as valued members of this community, in support of the DREAM Act or similar legislation. Contact information for members of Congress can be found  here .