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How does the University support DACA recipients?

By SARAH Y. KIM | October 5, 2017

As Congress continues to debate the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), members of the Hopkins community have expressed concern over the future of DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers.

They have also raised questions over protections the University has in place for Dreamers and the extent to which Hopkins is a welcoming environment for people of undocumented status.

Last December, the Student Government Association (SGA) passed a resolution demanding that the University designate itself as a sanctuary campus in support of a student-led petition that circulated in November, 2016.

The resolution requests that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers be prevented from entering campus unless they obtain permission from the University. It also demands University support for DACA.

In response to the SGA resolution, University President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sunil Kumar issued a statement on Dec. 19 2016 expressing the University’s support of DACA and promised emergency aid if necessary.

They also affirmed that law enforcement officials would not be permitted on campus without a valid warrant or court order and that information regarding the  immigration status of Hopkins community members would remain confidential unless required otherwise by law.

On Sept. 6, Daniels also released a statement reaffirming emergency aid for students, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a six month phase-out period for DACA.

In an email to The News-Letter, Tom McDermott, assistant vice provost for financial aid and director of student financial services explained their that offices will cover the calculated financial need of undocumented undergraduates.

“For the purpose of establishing eligibility for institutional need-based aid, we consider undocumented students as international students,” he wrote. “We meet 100 percent of calculated financial need of any admitted undergraduate at Homewood, whether they are domestic or international.”

He added that while they are eligible for University financial aid, undocumented students are not eligible under the law for federally funded aid, also known as Title IV programs.

McDermott also stressed that the University’s policies for undocumented students were not affected by the implementation of DACA and that they would not change if DACA were to end.

“[Hopkins] is committed to providing emergency aid or other financial support to ensure that students impacted by the end of DACA can complete their degrees,” he wrote.

This year, Baltimore joined a growing league of U.S. sanctuary cities. These do not fully comply with federal immigration laws and  Police or city employees are not allowed to question people on their immigration status.

Other sanctuary cities include Los Angeles; New York City, Seattle, Philadelphia, D.C. and Denver.

Last week, ICE officials arrested a total of 498 people for federal immigration violations, none of whom were DACA recipients. In Baltimore City and surrounding counties, officials made 28 arrests.

According to ICE, 317 of those arrested had criminal records.

Sophomore Tarek Meah criticized ICE’s actions, suggesting they were an overreach of power.

“What confuses me about the conservative train of thought is that they want a smaller government but they are overstepping the sovereignty of cities and sending in federal agents to arrest people,” he said.

Meah also called upon the University to take an active role in immigration policy in Baltimore.

“I think as a University, especially as Hopkins, we are in a place where we need to be able to have dialogue about what happens in Baltimore,” he said.

Meah added that Hopkins should take a public position regarding ICE.

“Everything we do affects the residents in Baltimore. President Daniels issued a statement about DACA and Dreamers, but he should also issue a statement about what’s happening with ICE and sanctuary cities.”

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