SPOKANE, Wash. - After President Trump's Monday morning announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the head of Whitworth University in Spokane spoke out against the move.
"You belong here, we love you and we count you as important citizens of Whitworth," said Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor, to the school's DACA recipients and undocumented students.
He said he's been in constant communication with the school's undocumented students and their families, offering them aid and guidance. He says he has also been in contact with local immigration enforcement agencies and the sheriff's office and has called talks with them 'productive'.
Taylor joins the heads of 34 community and technical colleges, 10 private institutions and the heads of the six public colleges and universities in the state of Washington in condemning President Trumps decision. The full list of schools and their official statement can be found here.
Its estimated that there are over 18,000 DACA recipients in Washington, many of them students in college.
For Whitworth students like Kamau Chege, a DACA recipient, the end of the program means an uncertain future.
"This is the only country we have ever known and we are determined to stay," he said. "There isn't a limited pie that U.S. citizens and immigrants have to fight over. The pie can grow and everyone can be better off."
On Tuesday he learned that his university president will stand by him.
"The university will not voluntarily release any information about our undocumented students without a warrant, or court order or other legal action," said Taylor.
He says that while the university will walk the fine line of acting within the law, he wants his students to know they belong in the university's community.
"My energies as a university president, and as someone who is looking after the welfare of our undocumented students, will now turn to Washington D.C.," he said.
He says he will work to lobby congressional leaders in order to get new legislation passed that protects the group of undocumented individuals known as "Dreamers".
Taylor says he's been in contact with the congressional delegation for Washington and is hopeful that they will be champions of the Dreamers as Congress is expected to tackle new legislation to protect them.
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