Fr. Curran calls Trump administration’s end to DACA ‘disheartening and disturbing’

Ryan Crawford, Editor-in-Chief

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rockhurst University president, the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., commented on President Donald Trump’s and his administration’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program within six months. “As a Catholic, Jesuit institution of higher learning we are invited to accompany the most vulnerable among us,” Curran said in his statement that was emailed to students, faculty and staff. “Our core value of cura personalis encourages us to see one another as companions in movement towards union with God.

“Hence, the president’s end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is disheartening and disturbing.”

The DACA program, implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012 via an executive order, allows those in the U.S. who came to the country illegally as minors to be protected from immediate deportation. “The hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and who are affected by this decision are being denied their human dignity,” Curran said.

“I hope this recent decision prompts us to insist that the U.S. Congress swiftly secure the bipartisan legislation known as the DREAM Act of 2017 as a humane, lasting solution,” said the Rockhurst president. “And, may it fully be consistent with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948) that codified the moral imperative for the care of all our brothers and sisters, our companions on this early pilgrimage.”

Opponents of the DACA program say that the Obama’s executive order was an overreach of power. “The point is … the president does not have the authority to waive immigration law, nor does he have the authority to create it out of thin air,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in 2013.

Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions criticized the Obama administration Tuesday for “disrespect for the legislative process.” “Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch,” Sessions said.

Obama defended his actions via a Facebook post Tuesday, saying the opportunity to pass a bill “never came.” “And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country,” Obama said.

On Tuesday, Trump said on Twitter that he looks forward “to working with (Democrats) and (Republicans) in Congress to address immigration reform in a way that puts hardworking citizens of our country first.”

Trump also put pressure on Congress Tuesday via a tweet to take action to legalize DACA. “Congress now has six months to legalize DACA (something the Obama administration was unable to do,” he tweeted. “If they can’t, I will revisit this issue.”

Curran’s statement can be found in its entirety here.

Interested in joining the Sentinel staff? Reach out to our Editor-in-Chief, Ryan Crawford, at [email protected] to see how you can get involved.