Catholic colleges tell DHS they will 'protect' DACA students

Presidents of the nation’s top Catholic colleges are once again calling on the Trump administration to give DACA students a free pass from immigration enforcement actions.

“We are deeply concerned about the futures of our undocumented students,” the administrators begin their letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, saying they “remain committed to supporting our students as they face legal and financial uncertainties.”

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“The academic year will conclude in May, and many of these students will leave our campuses for internships, summer programs, and jobs,” it continues. “Our prayer is that they return.”

The letter goes on to urge Kelly to clarify existing enforcement practices for those in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, noting that “at least 10 DACA holders who have not committed a criminal offense” have been detained since Trump took office.

“The implementation of immigrant enforcement policies falls under your discretion,” the letter states, requesting a meeting with Kelly to “better understand how enforcement agencies are approaching DACA holders.”

[RELATED: Student leaders to Trump: DACA repeal a ‘war on students’]

The letter, signed by more than 60 of the nation’s Catholic college presidents, then raises concerns over recent statements put out by Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE), specifically referencing one of its recent tweets in which the agency declared that “DACA is not a protected legal status,” though “active DACA recipients are typically a lower level of enforcement priority.”

“As Catholics, our shared faith calls us to protect the most vulnerable among us. Over the years, we have opened the doors of our colleges and universities to ‘Dreamers’ and advocated for comprehensive immigration reform so that they and their families can live safe, full lives in our country,” the letter concludes. “In these uncertain times, we will continue to do everything we can to protect our students, and we urge you to join us in this pursuit.”

The letter was signed by the presidents of 66 Catholic institutions, slightly more than half the number that signed an open letter late last year expressing hope that DACA students would be left alone by immigration authorities and declaring their intent to provide material support to such students on their campuses.

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