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Emory reaffirms support for DACA students

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Vince Dollard

UPDATE: Emory joins letter from university presidents urging Congress to act on DACA

Sept. 7, 2017

Emory President Claire E. Sterk is one of 57 university presidents and chancellors who sent a letter today urging Congress to act immediately so that participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may remain in the United States without fear of deportation.

The letter was sent by members of the Association of American Universities to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

It calls on Congress to immediately pass legislation allowing DACA participants to remain in the country "so they can continue to contribute to our society."

"Providing a permanent legal solution for these individuals is both a moral imperative and a national necessity if our nation is to live up to the ideals we espouse," the letter states. "As a country, we should not break the promise made to DACA participants, and we should not tarnish the bright American promise of opportunity."

Read the full letter.


Emory President Claire E. Sterk released the following statement on Sept. 6, 2017.

Dear Members of the Emory Community,

The announcement from the Trump administration about the discontinuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, while not unexpected, is of grave concern. The DACA program affects more than 800,000 young people who have been working tirelessly to build a future for themselves and to create a better society for all.

At Emory, our commitment to all of our students remains steadfast. In my message to the community last week, I noted that our DACA and undocumented students are creative, resilient leaders who contribute in vital ways to our life together. I want to reaffirm that support by reminding us that Emory will continue to care for those affected by the proposed rescinding of the DACA program:

  • Legal aid is available to students who are undocumented. The School of Law offers resources for students seeking assistance with immigration concerns. Please contact Campus Life’s Office of Student Success Programs and Services for a referral or for more information.
  • Emory has robust policies already in place to ensure that undocumented students have the need-based financial resources necessary to complete their education. Students with questions may contact their school’s financial aid office or visit
  • Emory has developed additional initiatives to serve community members whose immigration status could put them at risk. The Dialogue At Emory website outlines these programs. In addition, students interested in a newly formed student group dedicated to advocacy and community building may contact Lenet Rivas, Residence Life Complex Director, to learn more about this organization.

The Trump administration has given Congress a six-month window to address the future of those young people affected by the DACA program. In concert with our peer institutions, Emory is working diligently to ensure our community’s concerns are heard in Congress and to advocate for a swift bipartisan solution. We will not swerve from this pledge.

For those personally affected by the announcement, please remember that your Emory colleagues, teachers, and friends are standing with you.


Claire E. Sterk


Emory President Claire E. Sterk sent the following message to the university community on Aug. 31, 2017.

Dear Members of the Emory Community:

The Trump administration is poised to make a decision soon on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program protects nearly 800,000 young people brought to the United States as children. It offers these young people, each of whom must apply for the program and meet certain federal criteria, the chance to build a future on American soil. It allows them to work, study, and give back to their communities without fear of deportation.

The elimination of DACA means the elimination of hope for many of these young people. It also threatens to rob our academic community of some of our brightest minds on campus.

Emory’s DACA students are creative and resilient. They have overcome obstacles the likes of which many of us can hardly imagine. Their love of their adopted country and their determination to create a better future remind us what it means when we talk about being good citizens.

Last week, I sent letters to Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Senator David Perdue, (R-GA), and the 14 House members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation urging them to support passage of the DREAM Act of 2017. The DREAM Act is a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) that would support our best and brightest students and neighbors until comprehensive reform can find a permanent solution to the challenges posed by our current immigration system.

On our own campus, we have developed significant initiatives to serve community members whose immigration status could put them at risk. We continue to engage with DACA students, undocumented students, and other key stakeholders to help all of our community members in these uncertain times.

Emory has stood for progress and knowledge many times throughout our history, including times when that stance met with opposition. As Emory's 20th president, and as an immigrant, l want to reassure our community that while we come from all walks of life and all backgrounds, we find common ground in that part of Emory’s heritage which calls us to err on the side of compassion.


Claire E. Sterk

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