Under Donald Trump, the U.S. has become increasingly unsafe for undocumented immigrants. Shortly after announcing his presidential campaign, Trump infamously called Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists. In 2017, he announced plans to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era executive order granting work permits and protection from deportation to over 700,000 Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
The following year, his administration enacted policies that separated thousands of migrant children from their families. The children were stranded in overcrowded, unhygienic U.S. Border Patrol stations and kept in cages. This past year, the U.S. government has detained more children at the U.S. border than in any other period on record.
On Tuesday, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court seemed ready to support Trump’s intent to end DACA in the near future. The Court plans to make a decision no later than June 2020. If the Court chooses to rescind the policy, Dreamers will face the risk of immediate deportation.
We hope that the Supreme Court will confirm the legality of the DACA program and allow Dreamers to keep their protected immigration status. We believe that all students, documented or not, have a right to live and study in the U.S.
For years, members of the Hopkins community have been vocal about their support for DACA and undocumented immigrants in our community. Most recently on Nov. 8, a group of Hopkins students joined nationwide walkouts protesting the potential repeal of the executive order.
In December 2016, the Student Government Association (SGA) passed a resolution demanding that the University designate itself as a “sanctuary campus” with protections in place for affiliates who were undocumented immigrants. That same year, University President Ronald J. Daniels joined over 500 administrators from other colleges in signing a statement that expressed support for both the policy and undocumented immigrant students.
On Sept. 6, 2017, the day after Trump issued the memorandum that would repeal DACA, Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar sent an email to the Hopkins community explaining that the University would protect students who are Dreamers by providing emergency financial and legal aid. In addition, Hopkins supports Dreamers by identifying as a sanctuary campus and offering need-blind admission, as it does for American citizens. SGA also expressed its support for DACA that year.
We are proud that Hopkins has come forward as an institution which supports DACA. We believe that the student body will continue to stand up against the Trump administration. If the Supreme Court chooses to rescind DACA, we trust that our community will do what it can to protect Dreamers.
We hope that our administrators will stand by their promise to do the same. Given that administrators have expressed their intent to support undocumented immigrants in the past, we have faith that they will do so. We believe that they intend to make our campus a safe place for Dreamers.
Still, recent actions by the University contradict that intention. For years, Hopkins had contracts with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the very agency responsible for arresting and detaining undocumented immigrants. For months, the University refused to end these contracts, despite student protests and the month-long Garland sit-in.
Eventually in September, Hopkins announced its decision not to renew the contracts. However, University officials never stated that they did so because they wanted to comply with the wishes of activists on campus. Instead, they cited administrative delays and a decision to reallocate resources.
That the University had contracts with ICE in the first place is inconsistent with the sentiments that Daniels and Kumar expressed in their 2017 letter. ICE continues to threaten the very community that our administrators claim to support. We are glad that the University ultimately chose to end those contracts, but its dubious reasoning for deciding not to renew them gives us pause. By defending its contracts with ICE in the face of student backlash, administrators lost our trust.
Now, with the future of DACA in question, Dreamers need the University’s support more than ever. Though we can only await the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision and hope that DACA is here to stay, we can demand more from the University. Hopkins took the right steps two years ago by publicly declaring its support for DACA. We hope that, in the months to come, our administrators will reaffirm that support. They must rebuild our trust and follow through on their words with actions.