Eisgruber, faculty, campus groups voice support for affected students

President Eisgruber ’83, members of the faculty, and student groups voiced support for students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the wake of President Trump’s decision to phase out the program.

Eisgruber said the repeal of DACA —– which protects from deportation certain young immigrants who came to the United States as children — would be a “tragic mistake” and called the program a “wise and humane policy that has benefited the country in multiple ways.” In a letter to Senate and House leaders, he urged Congress to act quickly on legislation that would provide “both immediate and long-term protection” for the estimated 800,000 people in the program. 

In September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA would be phased out starting in March 2018 and that no new applications would be accepted. 

More than 170 faculty members signed a statement in solidarity with DACA students in early September, pledging to do “everything in [their] power to enable DACA students to thrive at Princeton.”

In his letter, Eisgruber said the program “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.”

More than 170 faculty members signed a statement in solidarity with DACA students in early September, pledging to do “everything in [their] power to enable DACA students to thrive at Princeton and in [their] courses.”

Sociology professor Miguel Centeno said about 100 families in the Princeton area have joined the Neighborhood Sanctuary Alliance, agreeing to open their homes to undocumented students if there were to be a raid on campus.

 University spokesman Daniel Day said that a few DACA students had requested to return to campus early, fearing that Trump would end the program immediately, and that Princeton arranged early accommodations for them in the residential colleges. The Davis International Center has reached out to DACA students to provide support, he said. 

Three student groups — the Princeton University Latinx Perspectives Organization, Princeton Dream Team, and Princeton Latinos y Amigos — called on the University to agree not to coordinate with ICE agents; to publish its protocol in case of a deportation case; and to declare Princeton a sanctuary campus with certain sanctuary spaces, including the Chapel. 

The University said in a statement that it would “do all it can to support undocumented and DACA students to the maximum extent that the law allows” and that its policies to safeguard privacy and safety are under review to ensure that they “fully protect” students, faculty, and staff.

Princeton said it will pay students’ DACA renewal filing fees and for their consultations with immigration attorneys. The University said its Department of Public Safety has no agreement with any federal law-enforcement agency to assist with immigration enforcement and will not honor immigration detainer requests. 

Affirming a position previously stated by Eisgruber, the University said immigration lawyers “have indicated that the concept of a ‘sanctuary campus’ has no basis in law, and that colleges and universities have no authority to exempt any part of their campuses from the nation’s immigration laws.”