Memorandum September 5, 2017
- American University Community
- Sylvia M. Burwell, President
- Update on Resources and Support for AU's Undocumented Students
I want to reiterate AU’s support for undocumented students in light of the U.S. Attorney General’s announcement today to rescind, in six months, the executive order which established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012. DACA allows registered participants brought to the U.S. as children to enroll in college, obtain valid driver’s licenses, and legally secure jobs. Uncertainty about the program remains while we await possible Congressional action to reestablish the program through legislation.
AU is and has always been a place that values diverse, global perspectives and welcomes students and faculty from around the world. I share the concerns of those who believe undocumented students should have access to education. AU supports DACA students and will continue to offer protection to the full extent allowed by law, guided by policies that guard the privacy and safety of every member of the university community.
AU will not disclose private information about our students, faculty, or staff to law enforcement officers unless presented with a warrant, subpoena, court order or other legal requirement, or authorized by the student. AU Police will not act as agents for or assist the federal government in immigration enforcement actions unless required by law.
We have put together resources for DACA and undocumented students that will guide and support them during this time.
- The Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the primary point of contact, will make referrals to Financial Aid, Academic Advising, Counseling and others, and external resources as needed, and will coordinate efforts with key campus stakeholders.
- The Washington College of Law Immigrant Justice Clinic will be providing legal assistance and WCL will host a “Know Your Rights” information session this week.
- The university will assist currently registered AU DACA students to find replacement resources for the employment that is currently funding their studies if their work permits are rescinded.
AU has supported public policies consistent with our values, including endorsing responsible global engagement and the DACA program. In December 2016, AU President Neil Kerwin offered five specific commitmentsto support undocumented students at AU.
While some presidents have declared their campuses as “sanctuaries,” we agree with the findings of many other universities and respected immigration attorneys that asserting such a status would have no basis in the law. The institution does not have the authority to exempt itself from federal immigration law. I share the concerns of others that claiming such status could be counterproductive, and could lead to greater risk for our students.
We are committed to our undocumented students and will use every legal means at our disposal to offer our support and protection.