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-Bellany | firstname.lastname@example.org | @yaffebellany