President Donald Trump’s administration announced Tuesday that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, that protects young, undocumented immigrants.
The Department of Homeland Security will for the program, according to CNN. It will, however, renew permits for anyone whose status expires in the next six months, which will give Congress an opportunity within that time to fight for the program.
"The Department of Justice cannot defend this overreach," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a press conference. "There is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws. Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and prevents human suffering. Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and even terrorism. The compassionate thing is to end the lawlessness, (and) enforce our laws."
Since being implemented five years ago by the Obama administration, “nearly 800,000 individuals who have received the protections have started families, pursued careers and studied in schools and universities across the United States,” according to a CNN report.
The decision by Trump pushes Congress to act before the DACA recipients begin losing their status March 5.
Ohio University President Duane Nellis said in a news release that the end of DACA “threatens to undermine Ohio University’s commitment to fair treatment and inclusivity for all of our students.” He said DACA has made it possible for students at both OU and other universities to pursue an education.
"Ending DACA protections threatens to undermine this commitment for the many young people who have worked very hard to be here and have so much to offer as global citizens,” Nellis said in a release. “On behalf of Ohio University, I remain steadfast in my commitment to protect the rights of all of our students.”
Nellis also plans to take action on the matter.
"Tomorrow I will go to Capitol Hill to advocate for all our students and urge our Congressional representatives, face-to-face to take action to protect the DREAMers immediately,” he said in the release. “We will continue to monitor these national discussions and will keep the University community informed of important developments as they unfold.”
OU Spokeswoman Carly Leatherwood said the exact number of undocumented students at OU was unknown because not all students report their statuses.
“We think it's a relatively low number, but not all students report,” she said in an email.
Several groups on campus took actions last academic year to support undocumented and international students. Faculty Senate, Graduate Student Senate, Student Senate and university administration worked to address the needs of international students during the Trump administration.
Student Senate last academic year requesting that the university address the needs of international, immigrant and undocumented students. GSS formed a task force “to show the general body is staying on top of what the university is doing to support international students throughout President Donald Trump's administration,” .
“DACA has enabled many students to attend Ohio University to pursue the transformative education that we provide,” McDavis said at the meeting. “These sons and daughters of undocumented immigrants have not broken any laws. They were brought to this country as minors through no fault of their own and have not caused any trouble. We have accepted them as students at our university; they are valued members of our community.”