Shortly after the Sept. 5 announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Trump administration will phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program starting in March 2018, President Eisgruber ’83 sent a letter urging leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives to pass legislation to provide “both immediate and long-term protection” for people enrolled in or eligible for the program.
The DACA program, which was created by President Barack Obama in 2012, gives temporary legal immigration status to about 800,000 young people in America. Sessions said no new applications under DACA will be accepted.
University spokesman Dan Day said a few DACA students requested to return to campus early in fear that President Donald Trump would end the program immediately, and that Princeton has been arranging early accommodations for them in the residential colleges. Additionally, administrators from the Davis International Center have reached out to Princeton’s DACA students to provide support and answer questions, he said.
Eisgruber said in his letter — addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi — that allowing the repeal of DACA would be a “tragic mistake.” He described the program as a “wise and humane policy that has benefited the country in multiple ways.”
“It has allowed talented and motivated students, who came to this country as a result of decisions by their parents, to pursue their educations, develop their talents, and contribute positively to our communities and our country,” he wrote. “These young people deserve the opportunity not only to remain in this country, which for many is the only home they have known, but to be reassured that their devotion to this country is welcomed and valued.”
Eisgruber’s statement followed another letter, dated Aug. 30, in which he urged President Donald Trump to continue the DACA program in its current form. Additionally, Eisgruber issued a statement of support for DACA to the Princeton community last fall and joined a group of more than 600 university presidents who signed a statement in support of the initiative.
Nicholas Wu ‘18, president of Princeton Advocates for Justice, a student organization, said the group is talking with other student groups about the best way to support undocumented students on campus. “The Trump administration’s announcement today is monstrous, but it’s not a defeat — it’s a call to action,” Wu said.
Representatives of the Princeton DREAM Team, a student immigrant-rights advocacy group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Sept. 4, the group issued a public statement of support to group members on its Facebook page.
“It goes without saying that the terrorizing of our communities for racist, political purposes is an obvious display of cruel and inhumane offenses committed by our government officials,” the statement said. “DACA and undocumented folk – Dream Team loves you and respects you. We strive to support you in the way that you best see fit. This is your experience, and we know that it extends beyond what happens tomorrow.”