ELLENSBURG, WA - Central Washington University President James L. Gaudino today joined the presidents of Washington’s five other public universities in protesting President Donald Trump’s decision to repeal the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in six months.
“Today’s announcement leaves us with profound disappointment and pained yet unequivocal resolve to stand up for our students who are among the 800,000 nationwide registered under DACA,” Gaudino said in a statement signed by the presidents of the University of Washington, Washington State University, Central Washington University, Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University, and Evergreen State University, known collectively as the Council of Presidents.
“These young men and women are some of the finest and most resilient students at our colleges and universities, often exhibiting unique character forged by the fire of adversity,” the statement continued. “These students and those that came before them are not strangers on our campuses, in our communities, and in our homes. They are our sons and daughters, our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and our family. They are us.”
President Gaudino called the president’s decision “regrettable” and urged Congress to quickly pass legislation that would reinstate the program.
“The young men and women affected by this decision include some of our best and brightest students,” he said. “They deserve to be allowed to pursue their dreams.”
The Council of Presidents’ statement, which was also signed by the presidents of 34 community and technical colleges, 10 members of the Independent Colleges of Washington, and 10 members of the Washington State Achievement Council, noted that DACA graduates play an important role in helping the state of Washington meet its critical needs for those with degrees in high-demand fields including science, business, technology, and medicine.
“They embody the initiative and resolve that has made the United States of America the most prosperous and innovative country in the world,” according to the statement. This lamentable decision to end DACA threatens to rob us of hundreds of thousands of gifted, hardworking, and dedicated young people who are American in every way but their immigration status.”
Under DACA, implemented by former President Barack Obama in 2012, people who came to the US undocumented as children could obtain two-year work permits, which could be renewed, and avoid deportation.
The Trump administration will end the DACA program in six months and indicated that should provide Congress enough time to come up with a legislative solution.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who made the announcement, said the program was unconstitutional. He said the government will immediately stop processing new applications but will wait six months before it ceases to process renewing permits for people already covered by the program.