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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Reed signs letter to protect undocumented students

St. Joe’s joins 26 Jesuit colleges and universities in solidarity

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) released a statement on Nov. 30 in protection of undocumented students. Of the 28 presidents from Jesuit colleges and universities, 27 signed the letter, including Saint Joseph’s University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D.

Reed, on behalf of St. Joe’s, also signed two other statements: One was released by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and another was released by Pomona College, at the end of November 2016.

“I felt it important to join in solidarity with our fellow Jesuit colleges and universities, particularly those with larger or significant numbers of undocumented students,” Reed said. “It is important to note that this is not a ‘new’ issue for Jesuit colleges and universities, nor for Catholic colleges and universities more broadly.”

The central office leadership of the AJCU communicated with all of the Jesuit institutions regarding an opportunity for discussion via conference call, as well as individual conversations among college and university presidents, according to Reed.

The statement created by Pomona College supported both the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and undocumented immigrant students. As of Dec. 2, more than 450 colleges and universities across the country have signed the statement agreeing to meet with U.S. leaders, according to Pomona College’s website.

According to U.S. citizenship and immigration services, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced in 2012 that certain people who came to the U.S. as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

“They are also eligible for work authorization,” the statement continues. “Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.”

Campus ministry is a safe place for undocumented students, according to Thomas Sheibley, director of Campus Ministry.

“Children who came here with their parents as undocumented immigrants have an opportunity under DACA to be out of the shadows, to pursue education,” Sheibley said. “They have been invited by our government to be more of a part of our society in that way. To either undo that from people who are benefiting from it or to deny that same opportunity from other young people in the future who are in a similar situation I just think ethically it is the wrong thing to do.”

There are less than a dozen undocumented students at St. Joe’s, according to Joe Lunardi, vice president of Marketing and Communication. Reed said he strongly believes the decision of a president to sign statements should not be a quick or a common one.

“It [signing statements] should be done sparingly,” Reed said. “With the recent statements, I concluded endorsing them was appropriate and consistent with our Jesuit mission and Catholic identity and was time-sensitive. These are not partisan political statements, nor do they advocate in any way for not following the laws of our country.”

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