President Schill calls for keeping DACA immigration policy

UO President Michael H. Schill

UO President Michael H. Schill sent the following message to the campus community Sept. 4 in anticipation of changes to federal immigration policy:

Members of the University of Oregon community,

President Trump this week is expected to make changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy, also known as DACA. I join hundreds of university leaders as well as local, state, federal, and business leaders in strongly urging President Trump to continue this program. I also write to let our students know that we support them, and to provide information about where our students and their families can go for assistance, should the need arise. 

In a world full of ambiguities, there is no ambiguity for me about the importance of continuing DACA. My view of morality dictates that young people, many of whom were brought here as infants or toddlers, must be allowed to remain in the United States to learn, work, and make a life for themselves. The United States is their home. To uproot them would be wrong. Period.

But the argument for DACA doesn’t just rest on principles of morality; it is also good for our country. One of the reasons the United States became the greatest nation in the world is because it was founded, built, and shaped by immigrants. Millions and millions of people, including all of my grandparents, risked everything to come to the United States to escape religious, ethnic, and political oppression or to seek out a better life for their children. The very act of coming here showed grit and determination, the willingness to assume risk, and courage—just the skills necessary to build our nation.

The future of our nation’s economic prosperity also depends upon embracing immigrants and making sure that they are educated to become productive citizens and positive contributors to the economy. Birthrates are declining among our country’s native-born, and immigrants currently make up about 13 percent of the workforce. To uproot young immigrants from their schools and jobs or to force them into the shadows is the equivalent of shooting ourselves in our collective feet.

Regardless of what happens in our nation’s capital, I want to again make very clear that the University of Oregon supports every student, regardless of immigration status. Every person on our campus is valued and welcomed because of and not despite their diversity of thought, race, culture, background, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and birthplace. Our many differences enrich this institution’s learning environment, enhance the student experience, and are essential to our mission of teaching, research, and service.

As is currently our practice, the UO will continue to protect the privacy of students, follow the law, and treat every member of campus with respect and inclusion. This means: 

  • The University of Oregon will not facilitate immigration enforcement on our campus without legal compulsion, such as in the form of a warrant or a clear demonstration of exigent circumstances such as the imminent risk to the health or safety of others;
  • The University of Oregon Police Department will not act on behalf of federal officials in enforcing immigration laws;
  • The University of Oregon will not share with immigration enforcement any information on the immigration status of students unless required by court order.

The university is reaching out directly to students who may be impacted by the president’s decision to provide them with information about support and services. Several important points of contact and sources of information will continue to be updated as needed in the coming days and weeks:

  • For current information on the status of DACA and frequently asked questions about immigration issues, please see the Immigration FAQ webpage.
  • Justine Carpenter, director of Multicultural and Identity-Based Support Services, is the campus point-person in support of undocumented and DACA students, and students of mixed-status families. Carpenter is located in the Office of the Dean of Students and can be reached at 541-346-1123 or justcarp@uoregon.edu 
  • For additional information on the UO's support for DACA students, please visit the UO DREAMers Workgroup website.
  • Should an immigration official ask for information about a UO student, employee, or visiting scholar, please immediately contact the Office of the General Counsel at 541-346-3082 or gcounsel@uoregon.edu.

In the coming weeks and months, I urge everyone in our community to reach out and embrace those students who now face the uncertainty of knowing whether they will be able to remain in the United States. As I have repeated on many occasions—we are a family. Families take care of each other, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that all of our students are supported.

Thank you.

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law