September 8, 2017

Statement on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

My Dear Friends:

Guilford, like many other colleges, laments the decision announced yesterday to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA).  DACA allowed individuals whose parents brought them to the United States as children and who meet specific criteria, to live and work here without being deported.  

The White House has shifted responsibility for passing regulations from the executive to the legislative branch.  The U.S. Congress now has the responsibility to render justice by ensuring a sound and compassionate policy providing DACA individuals with a path toward naturalized citizenship. We may assume that there will be a period of legal challenges toward whatever steps the United States takes on the rights of DACA individuals.  We cannot control the outcome, but we can choose to use our influence and power wisely.  As we know not everyone on campus is of like mind on DACA, let us be mindful of the opportunity to learn from people who are different from ourselves.

In learning about differences, we can reach out with care and empathy for those in our community who are most vulnerable.  We can protect our privacy and the privacy of others. We can learn more about immigration issues.  We can organize a phone and letter-writing campaign to contact our Congressional representatives.  We can make contributions to organizations we support.  

Guilford Dreamers strengthen our inclusive community of excellence.  They excel academically and graduate in four years at a significantly higher rate than all other students.  As they are ineligible for state and federal financial aid, they bear significant personal costs for earning the college degree they prize so highly.  We are now eagerly exploring private resources for aid and scholarships to allow us to support more DACA students.  North Carolina is the only home they have ever known, and their success reflects on and benefits Guilford, Greensboro, North Carolina and beyond.

We are more, not less because we enroll students from a myriad of backgrounds.  When we value, appreciate and support each other's varied needs and experiences, we become wiser human beings.  Let us use this moment to renew our daily commitment to help one another, every one of us, in all our diversity and complexity, with compassion, understanding, and kindness.


Jane K. Fernandes