Dear CBU Community:
At Christian Brothers University, our identity and mission as a Lasallian community call for us each day to reach out and provide our support to those who may be feeling marginalized, unseen, or unsupported by society. Taking such action is oftentimes neither an easy nor popular thing to do. It is, however, something that is not only right and just, but also completely aligned with our Lasallian and Catholic values.
Since our founding in 1871, our University has worked tirelessly to make the American dream of a college education available to tens of thousands of striving and hard-working students. Consistent with the work first begun by St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers over three centuries ago, we have purposefully worked to make sure that the marginalized, the neglected, and the under-resourced are always among the students that we serve. Consistent with that Lasallian mission, in recent years we have worked with similarly committed partners to support the educational aspirations of a group of our students colloquially known as the Dreamers.
This past week, a federal district judge in Texas ruled against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that encompasses the Dreamers. In response, the U.S. Department of Justice has announced its intention to appeal the decision in the coming days. In the meantime, last week’s ruling allows for current Dreamers to keep their status and allows DACA program renewals for them while the case goes through the appeals process.
On a national level, the DACA program counted more than 636,000 active participants at the end of last year, and it has enjoyed considerable bipartisan support, with a 2020 Pew Research Center survey finding that 74% of Americans favor a law that would grant permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Roberto G. Gonzales, a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education who has spent the last two decades studying undocumented youth, has documented the quantifiable positive impacts DACA has had on recipients, from access to health care to the ability to financially support family members to improved mental health. “The evidence is clear and indisputable,” Dr. Gonzales said. “DACA has made a tremendous impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people over the last eight years.”
In light of this and in keeping with our Lasallian mission, I have joined over 400 CEOs, civic leaders, and other university presidents in signing a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to pass the bipartisan Durbin-Graham DREAM Act of 2021.
To our CBU Dreamers, I want you to know that our University remains committed to ensuring that you, like all of the students that we serve, are able to continue moving forward in earning your eventual degrees. I also want to reassure you that TheDream.US and our other funding partners will not be changing any scholarship funding awards or eligibility criteria in the wake of last week’s decision. Lastly, I want you to know that you are valued and supported members of our Lasallian community and that our University is made both richer and more vibrant by your presence.
Together and by association,
President of Christian Brothers University