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Arizona State University Joins Movement to Provide Safe Space for DACA Students

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Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

Michael Crow, Arizona State University’s president, joined 250 universities and colleges around the country declaring that undocumented students granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be protected and supported at the university’s campuses. Additionally, he specifically offered counseling services so the students can deal better with the uncertainty of a Trump presidency. He also offered to establish a dialogue at multiple levels with various internal and external communities to assert the importance of support.

In a November 23 press release, President Crow described ASU’s commitment to DACA students as a stance to honor the belief that an educated citizenry is extraordinarily important for the state.

As of Tuesday, November 22, 250 colleges and universities have signed a joint declaration to protect DACA students, acknowledging the benefits of the DACA program and its positive ripple effects in local communities. Click here to read the full declaration.

You can read Arizona State University’s full press release below or by following this link.

Arizona State University’s Commitment to DACA Students and all DREAMers

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 – 12:45pm

Dear ASU Community:

I want to emphasize that Arizona State University’s commitment to DACA students and to all DREAMers remains unchanged. It is based on the core principle set forth in ASU’s charter that we are “measured not by whom we exclude, but rather by whom we include and how they succeed.”

This commitment, particularly as it applies to immigrants, honors the vision of Arizona’s founders. They “believed that an educated citizenry was extraordinarily important to the new state” because “they had witnessed the most intense immigration in the history of America” and “were keenly aware that education was responsible for preserving America’s unity while wave after wave of peoples arrived from other countries. As the heated debates about education as a requirement for voting show, the conventioneers believed that a free society could not exist without educated participants.”

The Arizona Constitution requires that our public school system “shall be open to all the children of the state.” Ariz. Const. art. XX, Para. 7 (emphasis added). It is an obligation that ASU takes seriously. And, particularly when it comes to immigrants, it is one that I take personally.

In 2010, President Skorton of Cornell and I sent a letter to 2,200 university and college presidents enlisting their support for passage of the DREAM Act. You can read more about this effort herePresident Skorton and I made a similar plea in 2013, this time along with Miami Dade College President, Eduardo Padrón. Details on this effort can be found here. And, I am adding my name to the college and university presidents’ statement in support of the DACA program and our undocumented immigrant students, which can be found here.

My commitment, and ASU’s, to DREAMers has not been limited to lobbying for passage of the DREAM Act. Working with community leaders, we raised millions of dollars to ensure that the ASU students impacted by the passage of Proposition 300 would have the funds needed to complete their education.

ASU reaffirms its historic commitment to DREAMers generally and to DACA students in particular. We do so as a matter of our state mandate, our charter, and our values.

ASU’s actions going forward will be based on this commitment and on the following additional principles specific to the questions that have been asked regarding the status of DACA students:

  1. The legal status of DACA students has not changed. While there has been much speculation about what might happen, the Arizona Board of Regents’ position that DACA students are eligible for in-state tuition at all three Arizona public universities remains unchanged. There will be no change unless and until the Federal DACA program is changed or the Court of Appeals reverses the Arizona superior court decision that was the basis for the Board’s conclusion that DACA status satisfies the requirements of its existing residency policy.
  2. We recognize that DACA students are nevertheless anxious and concerned about their future. Therefore, ASU will make counseling services available to them on a confidential basis.
  3. If DACA is eliminated, we will rise to the challenge. ASU is a convening force in the community for good and for change. If students lose the status that makes them eligible for in-state tuition, ASU will convene and engage the community on this issue to seek financial support for the continued study of students at ASU who graduated from Arizona high schools and who are qualified to attend the state universities – regardless of their immigration status. We have already begun discussions with our DACA scholarship partner, TheDream.US, about using the private dollars that they raise to secure scholarships for DREAMers who have lost their DACA status, should that occur. Even before in-state tuition became a reality, we partnered with TheDream.US on a scholarship program that they established for DACA students enrolled in our online degree programs, and we would hope that will continue. ASU will also provide financial counseling services as needed.
  1. In the days ahead, we will continue to work at every level to maintain the great learning environment that ASU has created. Dialogue is essential and we will communicate at multiple levels with various internal and external communities and constituencies about the importance of inclusivity in all that we do.

In summary, ASU will continue to advance the economic competitiveness of our State through the education of all qualified students: The future of Arizona’s economic competitiveness requires that we have an educated workforce.  As our founders recognized, it is essential to our democracy.

Michael M. Crow

President

Arizona State University