University president John DeGioia co-authored an Oct 16 op-ed in The Hill with three other presidents of area universities asking Congress to pass the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. DeGioia was joined by the presidents of George Mason University, Ángel Cabrera, Montgomery College, DeRionne Pollard, and Northern Virginia Community College, Scott Ralls.
The university presidents felt that the nearly 800,00 young people previously protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) deserved the opportunity to pursue higher education. “They are members of our communities. They have done all the things we expect of our young people, and for their efforts so many have been able to earn places on our college campuses. They want — and deserve — the chance to continue learning and living in America without the constant fear of deportation,” the article reads.
Georgetown has increased the assistance it provides to undocumented students, including the appointment of Arelis Palacios to serve as associate director for undocumented student services.
Palacios wrote in an email to the Voice that the university is providing considerable support for undocumented students. “The University is providing comprehensive services for its undocumented students, both undergraduate and graduate, such as ongoing legal services through Catholic Charities, robust support via the Community Scholars and Georgetown Scholarship programs.”
She also wrote that the university is also working with national organizations like FWD.US, United We Dream, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities to advocate for permanent legislation protecting undocumented youths.
Laura Padilla (COL ‘18), former co-president of Hoyas for Immigrant Rights, wrote in an email to the Voice that she commends the university for the assistance it has provided to undocumented students. “I think Georgetown has done a great job acknowledging humanity of DREAMers while also very clearly condemning the administration for attacking this community. Georgetown’s greatest response, in my opinion, was hiring a full-time Undocumented Student Coordinator who is there to support students in a number of different ways but especially emotionally,” Padilla wrote.
The statement concludes with why the young people who were protected by DACA, 45 percent of whom are enrolled in school or college according to the American Council on Education, should be allowed to continue their education and residence.
“They have earned their places on our campuses. They are poised to contribute to the future of our nation. We have the capacity, and responsibility, as a nation to provide a permanent bipartisan legislative solution,” the statement reads. “We call upon Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act so that these talented and hardworking students, brought here as children by parents who only wished for a better life, are able to get the shot at success and the American dream that they so rightfully deserve.”