University President Peter Salovey sent a public letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday urging the president to “maintain and defend” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“We are a nation of laws, but we are also a nation of immigrants who have sought, generation after generation, the promise of opportunity,” Salovey wrote. “The Dreamers participating in DACA have embraced the United States as their home, and we should affirm that they have a future in our great country.”

According to recent news reports, Trump is considering putting an end to DACA, with a final decision expected as early as next week.

DACA protects from deportation undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, who came to the U.S. as children. Since it was established by the Obama administration in 2012, the program has aided about 800,000 immigrants nationwide, according to the New York Times.

The Yale Office of International Students & Scholars has pledged to help students affected by DACA navigate the uncertain legal landscape.

“The young people who benefit from DACA have overcome significant challenges, demonstrating the talent, values and grit that foreshadow their contributions to the civic and economic life of our country,” Salovey wrote in the letter. “A decision to maintain DACA will allow Congress time to act on legislation to establish a legal pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.”

In his previous statements responding to the Trump administration, Salovey has taken a more cautious approach, avoiding direct criticism of the president.

Yale is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, which means that University leaders are prohibited from making explicitly partisan statements. And Salovey has said repeatedly that the University must choose its moments carefully when responding to Trump.

After the United States withdrew from the Paris climate accord in June, Salovey joined a coalition of elite universities vowing to combat climate change. But he avoided directly commenting on Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement in his public statements on the issue.

On the issue of DACA, however, Salovey has taken a different approach.

“President Salovey uses a lot of different means by which he tries to influence policy,” Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor said Wednesday night. “The kind of response that he gives depends on what he thinks would be most effective. In this instance, with the timing, he decided to go the direct way.”

David Yaffe-Bellanydavid.yaffe-bellany@yale.edu | @yaffebellany 

  • Nancy Morris

    Here is a link to Salovey’s letter:

    http://president.yale.edu/speeches-writings/statements/letter-president-regarding-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-program

    Salovey is correct to focus on the need for comprehensive Congressional action. Wholesale deportation of DREAMERS would be inhumane, unnecessary and irrational. But that action must contain effective deterrents to future unauthorized immigration. In other words, it must contain some form of “The Wall.” Nevertheless, Salovey’s letter is a significant and positive contribution to the national immigration debate through the letter’s subtle understanding and acknowledgment of the difficult and competing policy forces in play and its avoidance of preachy moralism.

    Salovey’s letter also correctly points out the tension between our being a nation of laws, which DACA disregards (the letter does not expressly address the legality of DACA, but tacitly suggests its invalidity by acknowledging the tension), and the various humanistic policies and factors that cry out for Congress to act. DACA is almost certainly illegal, indeed unconstitutional. Congress has Constitutional authority over immigration, and Congress has not delegated to the federal executive the right to make immigration policy on the level DACA represents.

    DACA is not the answer. The President of the United States should not defend in court an illegal executive policy promulgated by his overreaching and lawless predecessor. He should instead take care that the laws of the United States, including its immigration laws, are enforced, as the Constitution correctly and expressly charges the President to do.

    Trump’s threat to abolish DACA has been identified as a likely negotiating device intended to force Congress to act, especially Congressional Democrats who have repeatedly exploited immigration to their putative political advantage. It is absolutely perverse that so many people who cherish immigrant welfare identify and place their trust with Democrats. The threat to abolish DACA gives those Democrats a major downside, unfortuneately at a potentially great cost to DREAMERS. If Congress will not act, then those responsible for such inaction in Congress should be held accountable by the voters.

    • David Harrison

      Who is Nancy Morris?

      • Nancy Morris

        Actually, all of the comments appearing here under the name “Nancy Morris” were in fact written by an entirely different person with the same name.

  • Nancy Morris

    According to interviewed federal officials, Trump is expected to announce the program’s end by as early as Friday, but will allow so-called “dreamers” currently in the program to stay in the U.S. until their work permits expire – which, for some, could be as long as two years.

    That gives Congress time to act while ratcheting up pressure on Congressional Democrats to stop grandstanding and trade dreamer provisions for some form of “The Wall” and otherwise formulate rational reform.

    It’s not too far fetched to suppose that by focusing on a need for Congress to act, stressing the underlying humanistic facts and policies over legalisms, and avoiding an abrasive voice in his letter, Salovey may actually have influenced Trump in a positive way.

  • jacksprat47

    As the comments point out, Salovey’s letter is misdirected, in that it is Congress which has responsibility within our representative democracy’s separation of powers for enacting legislation to deal with the “Dreamers”. That is why Obama’s executive action was so offensive to Constitutional conservatives like me, even though many of us ardently support giving rights (and responsibilities) to the Dreamers. I must say, however, that I had to chuckle at the notions that Congress needed “more time” to work out a solution, or that President Trump will be swayed by anything Peter Salovey has to say to him on any subject. LOL

    • ShadrachSmith

      Salovey had a lot of influence with the last administration. Now he can’t get Urban Policy Strategies a government research grant.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Holding up Obama’s legacy as the sacred heart of American culture has a devoted – but limited – audience. You are free to believe whatever. DACA was an issue in the prez election and DACA lost 306-232. Let us respect the wisdom of our electorate, or not.