NIU backs DACA students

By Lindsey Salvatelli

DeKALB — Acting president Lisa Freeman sent a campus-wide email Tuesday in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.

The administrative program allowed undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children the opportunity to register and remain in the country and receive a two-year working permit if those registered met certain guidelines.

Attorney General Jeff Session, on behalf of Trump, announced new applications for the program will no longer be accepted as of Wednesday, and officials will limit renewals for those already in the program. More than 750,000 undocumented immigrants were approved for protection under the program in 2016, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“I want to be clear that NIU stands with our students, regardless of their immigration status,” Freeman said in the campus-wide email. “Moreover, we are committed to admitting and retaining students regardless of status or nationality.”

Undocumented students are unable to receive federal or state funding for higher education and other benefits like public health insurance and Social Security according to a Feb. 25, 2009, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report.

For those on campus dealing with these limitations, there is Dream Action NIU, which is a student-led organization that strives to promote awareness about the circumstances undocumented students face and support their aspirations of obtaining a higher education.

NIU officials have worked with private donors to help offset some of the costs for some of the undocumented students at the university, Freeman said in the email.

Freeman encouraged undocumented students to continue attending classes and to not allow the recent events to deter them from reaching their goals. Freeman also urged students who want to advocate for the cause to join Dream Action NIU.

“To our undocumented students: You belong at NIU,” Freeman said in the email. “We want you here, and we are prepared to help you navigate how to continue on your educational journey.”