SGA as a Voice for DACA Students
On Sept. 5, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was put on the chopping block. Created in 2012 during the Obama administration, DACA temporarily protected children of illegal immigrants from deportation and allowed them a work permit.
In support of those affected by this decision, SGA President Daniel Carter signed a Joint Statement on DACA with all 27 Jesuit college and university student body presidents on Wednesday.
As a resource and voice for all students, the student governmental body is promising to “publicly stand in solidarity with our undocumented students and their allies” by calling representatives, orchestrating educational efforts for students to learn more about the topics of immigration and DACA, engaging the students in dialogue and demonstrations alike, promoting off-campus action, and reminding those of appropriate resources for spiritual, psychological, and emotional needs.
Treating the rescindment of DACA as a call to action, student representatives from each Jesuit college were accounted for at Washington, D.C., to discuss methods to protect their fellow classmates. Of the 28 accounted Jesuit universities, two students from Loyola Marymount and one from Seattle University drafted the Joint Jesuit Statement in the wake of Trump invalidation of DACA.
The document then made its rounds to every Jesuit school for approval. “The reason why we were the last to sign it is because I didn’t want to unilaterally put our name on a document that requires us to take certain actions on this,” Carter said. “I wanted a vote and buy-in from the entire senate to say that we were committed to this issue.”
During Wednesday’s meeting, Carter was in contact with the SGA president of Loyola Marymount regarding the voting results. The vote was unanimously in favor of the statement: 30-0.
Despite precautionary steps being taken in light of DACA’s rescindment, Carter is optimistic Congress will reach a solution before the deadline in March. “We have been in contact with our national representatives and will continue to be in contact to advocate,” Carter said. “There are different pieces of legislation pending at the national level for how to protect DACA students.”
Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Tre Watterson has a responsibility to ensure that each student feels included and safe on campus. To him, rescinding DACA was the absolute antithesis of what inclusion stands for.
“These people did nothing wrong, and they’re doing everything they can,” he said. “They’re giving so much money back to the economy. They work. And these people are here trying to learn and do better.”
Over the next several weeks, a bill will be written by SGA to target how it can specifically reach out to its DACA students.
“DACA students are a part of our campus community, and it is SGA’s job to advocate for them and be their voice at all levels of government,” Carter said.