Dear Students in the Rutgers School of Social Work Community,
I am writing to you in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As you know, the White House Administration has given a six-month deadline to Congress to enact a program to replace DACA.
The DACA program is an example of the right way forward on immigration reform. Certainly, these young people, who are as committed to this country as any other citizen, who have demonstrated how much they have to offer, and who have counted on our country’s collective assurances of safety in providing their personal information, should have our admiration, our support, and our protection.
You will have received communications from President Barchi and the four Rutgers Chancellors and from New Brunswick Chancellor Dutta. If you have not yet read them, please take a look at President Barchi’s statement to the Rutgers community here and Chancellor Dutta’s response here. Both reflect the University’s commitment to our Dreamer students. In fact, as you may know, the University was part of a coalition that advocated for, and secured passage of, the New Jersey DREAM Act, that grants undocumented residents of NJ access to in-state tuition rates.
President Barchi has encouraged members of the University to exercise their personal first amendment rights to advocate for the passage of the legislative measures to extend DACA protections until such time as comprehensive immigration reform can be enacted. You can be sure that social workers around the country will be working to this end, including those of us who have the privilege of teaching and working next to all of our amazing students here at Rutgers.
The School recognizes the significant stress this situation places on Dreamers and those who love and care for them. We are committed to supporting students who are affected. We will not keep any records related to immigration status. Nothing has changed with regard to our School’s pride in our Dreamer students, our support for them in our programs, and our commitment to their ability to represent us in the community as alumni.
Our support for DACA students reflects the values and ethics of the social work profession, including the field’s commitment to social justice, inclusion, and advocacy. If you are a student impacted by this recent announcement, please know that our faculty members are with you, and that a great many of us are very, very actively engaged in advocacy efforts on your behalf.