Standing by our brothers and sisters — Sept. 6, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

On Tuesday the Trump administration announced plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on March 5, 2018. Under the current DACA program, recipients must have been under the age of 31 prior to June 15, 2012; have resided in the United States continuously from June 15, 2007, to June 15, 2012; have arrived with a parent before turning 16; be in school, a high school graduate, or be a military veteran; and not be convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors. DACA recipients do not receive legal status, and their deferral must be renewed every two years. Through these comprehensive guidelines, the DACA program has allowed approximately 800,000 individuals who came to the United States as children to remain in the country, to study in colleges and universities, and to obtain work permits.

On March 16, 2017, I joined 560 U.S. college and university presidents urging the Trump administration to allow students under the DACA program to remain in the country while Congress worked toward a permanent solution. And now, Valparaiso University stands with numerous organizations, including the American Council on Education, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the Lumina Foundation, in expressing our deep disappointment in this decision by the Trump administration. These individuals are not a threat to our democracy or security. They have already undergone rigorous tests to be accepted into the program and remain in the United States.

Because Valparaiso University is an institution rooted in the Lutheran tradition and dedicated to welcoming and including in its community people from different backgrounds and beliefs, we will advocate for the individuals affected by this decision. They are our neighbors — our brothers and our sisters. They are our students. We urge Congress — particularly Indiana’s Congressional delegation — to demonstrate leadership and take action before the six-month deadline.

Those who wish to contact elected officials can find their legislators using NAICU’s online database.


Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.
Valparaiso University