Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s plan during the presidential campaign to abolish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, University of Nevada, Reno president, Marc Johnson signed a petition this week to protect DACA students who attend the university.
“I along with 500 other presidents of colleges and universities signed a petition to support the continuation of the policy of DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” said Marc Johnson in a meeting of the Senators of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada.
In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to allow undocumented students to attend school in the United States without having to fear deportation.
DACA students are undocumented students that have come to the United States before the age of 16 and are given permission to attend school, are given a work permit and a social security number for the purpose of having and attending work.
“740,000 of these individuals have signed up and they are protected, I would now consider them as documented under the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. We don’t know what is going to happen with that policy once there’s a change of administration,” Johnson said.
Throughout the presidential campaign, President-elect Trump pledged to put in place tougher immigration policies and said he would eliminate the DACA program from colleges and universities.
The petition letter was organized by David Oxtoby, president of Pomona College in California. And read, “To our country’s leaders we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded. We are prepared to meet with you to present our case. This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity. America needs talent – and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future.”
Despite President Johnson’s signing of the petition, UNR Latinx Student Advisory Board held a silent demonstration on Thursday to call on the university to make UNR a sanctuary campus.
While President Johnson’s signature of the petition means he has pledged to support the continuation of the DACA program, he has not announced whether or not he will be making the university a sanctuary campus.
LSAB received over 1,000 signatures on their petition asking the university “to develop a protocol for the University of Nevada, Reno to serve as a sanctuary campus, placing restrictions on law enforcement. We urge your offices to stand with immigrants who study, live, and work at this university.”
“They’ve been having meetings without us, they know about this and they haven’t included us when it is affecting us and not necessarily other communities on campus,” said Jackeline Durón, a UNR student and member of LSAB who led the silent demonstration.
To conclude the silent demonstration, the group collectively dropped their petition off at the Presidents Office. During the petition drop-off, President Johnson came out and spoke to demonstrators and agreed to have a meeting with members of LSAB about the petition next week.