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University to Congress: Pass Permanent Protection for Undocumented Students

February 8, 2019 – Georgetown continued support for its undocumented students this week by urging Congress to pass permanent protections to relieve university communities experiencing “high anxiety and uncertainty” across the country.

President John J. DeGioia joined a consortium of more than 400 university presidents in sending letters on Feb. 4 encouraging a resolution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protective Status (TPS) holders.

Letters went to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York).    

‘Good Faith Start’

“The high anxiety and uncertainty on our campuses continue as many of our Dreamer students, alumni and community members, along with those in TPS, fear for their futures and families,” the letter states. “A narrowly crafted compromise that includes permanent protections, absent of harsh restrictions or income criteria, for DACA and TPS recipients, and reasonable border security measures, would be an important achievement and a good faith start to future immigration reform discussions.”

DeGioia is a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, whose members sent this week’s letters.

“We recognize that bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers and deal with other immigration matters entails compromise, and we support evidence-based, effective, and commonsense policy solutions,” the letter continues.

Rich Heritage

John Carr speaks while Norma Pimentel looks his way while sitting next to him.The higher education leaders also offered to work alongside Congressional leaders to “ensure U.S. immigration policies are informed by our experiences and convictions so that our nation’s security may be provided for, and our heritage as a nation of immigrants is respected and protected.”

The Alliance first wrote to Congressional leaders in January 2018, urging a narrowly tailored legislative solution to protect DACA.

Georgetown has continued conversations and work around DACA and immigration issues through panel discussions and immersion experiences designed to build better awareness of issues related to immigration, DACA and TPS. Undocumented students with a Georgetown ID may also receive free legal advice from Catholic Charities at its two walk-in locations in Washington, DC.

Earlier this week, the university’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life gathered a panel of activists, members of the religious community and a student directly impacted by current immigration policies.

The Feb. 4 panel discussion looked beyond politics and focused on the human costs and morality associated with today’s immigration issues.

Helping Migrants

A group of six Georgetown community members stand near a fence at the U.S. border to Mexico. During winter break, 14 Georgetown Law students, faculty, staff and alumni spent five days in Dilley, Texas, helping migrants seeking asylum.

And last month, a group of university leaders traveled to the border of Nogales, Arizona and Mexico for the university’s Kino Border Initiative, offered by the Office of Mission and Ministry, the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service (CSJ) and the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA).

Kino Border participants included:

  • Amanda Munroe, assistant director, social justice curriculum and pedagogy in CSJ
  • Arelis Palacios, associate director for undocumented student services within CMEA
  • Christopher Celenza, dean of Georgetown College
  • Rev. Mark Bosco, S.J., vice president of mission and ministry
  • Jamie Kralovec, associate director for mission integration in the School of Continuing Studies
  • Lisa Brown, vice president and general counsel
  • Mitch Bailin, associate vice president and dean of students for Georgetown Law
  • Patricia Grant, senior associate dean of the undergraduate program in the McDonough School of Business
  • Sheila McMullan, vice dean in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

“This visit was starkly different from the regular program that provides the experience as an alternative spring break option for our students,” says Arelis Palacios, associate director for undocumented student services within CMEA. “This was an opportunity for senior campus leaders to engage with this mission-critical issue. It also reaffirmed our commitment to support undocumented, immigrant and migrant communities through the auspices of our Jesuit and holistic educational values.”