Curran and other college, university leaders: ‘We are deeply concerned about the futures of our undocumented students.’

Ryan Crawford, Editor-in-Chief

The Rev. Thomas Curran, S.J., Rockhurst University President, once again signed a joint letter from various college and university leaders that addressed the immigration policies of President Donald Trump and his administration. The statement, made public May 23, was addressed to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly.

“We respectfully request a meeting with you [Kelly] to better understand how enforcement agencies are approaching DACA holders,” the statement said. “We would like to better understand how immigration enforcement agencies in the Department of Homeland Security, including ICE and Customs and Border control (CBP), approach DACA holders during targeted enforcement actions, police encounters or in public.”

According to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program entails: “certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. … Deferred action does not provide lawful status.”

DACA, implemented in 2012 under Barack Obama’s administration, is still in place. “Expanded immigration enforcement priorities have led to the detention of at least 10 DACA holders who have not committed a criminal offense that would compromise their DACA eligibility,” according to the statement. Detention of DACA holders mentioned in the statement is not specific to Rockhurst University, but the U.S. as a whole.

There are college students around the country that are a part of the DACA program who could be at risk. “DACA students could become very vulnerable and possibly subject to detention and deportation if DHS deemed them to be a security risk,” Curran told the Sentinel. When asked about the possibility that signing this statement could signal some sort of political or partisan stance, Curran simply said, “Signing the statement is an act of solidarity with the vulnerable and innocent. Such acts are consistent with Catholic social teaching and our Jesuit way of proceeding.”

A tweet from the official Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) account was referenced in the statement as a serious point of concern. “DACA is not a protected legal status, but active DACA recipients are typically a lower level of enforcement policy,” the tweet read.

This is not the first time that Curran has signed his name on a statement or letter regarding evolving immigration policy. In early December, about a month after Trump was elected president, Curran penned his name on a statement released by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. That statement outlined four goals of the AJCU, one of which was to protect those part of the DACA program.

In late January, Curran sent a letter via email to those part of the Rockhurst community after Trump signed an executive order that originally banned entrance to the U.S. from seven countries in the Middle East. “The recent executive order issued by President Trump suspending entry to the United States by those from seven countries has left many people scared and confused,” Curran said then.

The newest statement signifies a concern for undocumented students leaving their campus for the summer. “The academic calendar will conclude in May, and many of the students will leave our campuses for internships, summer programs and jobs.” It is not known how many students are a part of the DACA program.

“Our prayer is that they return.”