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SLU Response to the Decision to Rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

Dear members of the SLU Community,

Yesterday, the White House decided to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ceasing its operation entirely within six months. This means that these “Dreamers,” approximately 800,000 of our classmates, co-workers, friends, and family, are vulnerable to being deported if Congress does not pass a bill that paves a path to United States citizenship for these individuals within that time.

In the immediate, here is what the University is doing:

1. We will take every action within the law to protect all members of our community.

2. The University strictly abides by the requirements of FERPA and protects the privacy of all information in a students’ educational files.

3. SLU will not allow access by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to student records information (including immigration status) without subpoena or other legal requirements.

4. Immigration law enforcement is the responsibility of the federal government; therefore, SLU’s Department of Public Safety officers do not inquire about immigration status while carrying out their work, nor will they detain an individual based solely on those grounds. Further, DPS will not be asked to act as de facto ICE agents in enforcing immigration law.

5. SLU will continue to offer the full range of support to all students, including DACA students, as well as to apply all of our existing protocols that support students in an emergency or distress situation. Please contact the Dean of Students Office or Office of International Services if you need assistance or know of any other student who does.

6. SLU is committed to providing ongoing education and dialogue on international and federal policy and resources related to immigration law and its impact on international and DACA students.

Additional resources and information can be found on this webpage.

From the moment we first learned of the possibility of DACA being rescinded, University leaders have spoken out fervently on a national level to our elected officials.

On behalf of Saint Louis University, I have joined the ranks of international religious leaders and my fellow college and university presidents signing letters and endorsing statements urging Congress to protect the Dreamers, who are among the most vulnerable in our society.

While these efforts have not yielded the results we had hoped, I refuse to believe they were fruitless. I will continue to advocate to lawmakers so that our collective voice is heard. I invite all of our campus community to do the same — to be informed, to be engaged in the political process, and to implore Congress to act in the best interests of all who call the United States home, now and in the future.

This is about more than the Dreamers potential to contribute to Saint Louis University or even this country. This is about an affirmation of human dignity, which Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have conveyed eloquently in their statements. Each of us has a desire to live free of fear, to be loved, to belong, and to achieve our dreams.

All people are welcome at SLU. This is a moment for us to specifically remind the undocumented members of our community that they have a place here. They are proponents of our mission. They are pursuers of truth. They are servants of humanity, and together, we are Saint Louis University.


Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.