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September 7, 2017

In Support of Daca


miguel martinez-saenz

As most of you now know, the White House has announced plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the coming months. I am writing today to profess that St. Francis College, a college dedicated to hospitality in the most profound sense of the term, stands with all members of our community who are directly or indirectly affected by this decision. As I wrote to you just a few days ago, "...we should heed the words of Pope Francis: 'authentic hospitality is our greatest security against hateful acts...'" In our deeds we can be living examples of what it means to affirm the value and dignity of each person.

Our proximity to the Statue of Liberty gives us more reason to re-affirm our commitments. Recall the inscription on the Statue of Liberty: "Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

More than ever we need to be willing to cultivate our sympathetic awareness of the changing global and local landscape and of the diverse challenges that people from different walks of life have to overcome; only then can we serve our youth and only then can we hope that others will strive to become more sensitive and appreciative of people from diverse backgrounds.

Of significance, some of St. Francis College's successful alumni were childhood arrivals, including prominent alumnus Cesar Vargas '05. Cesar was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was five years old; he has been a vocal and visible advocate of DACA. And, importantly, in 2015, he became the first undocumented immigrant admitted to the bar in New York State.

St. Francis College will continue to be a safe and inclusive campus for students like Cesar. Undocumented students and those with DACA status are, and will continue to remain, a valued part of our Franciscan community. We will do everything possible to support these students. I close with the words of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn:

"Today my prayers are with the young undocumented people in our Diocese who now face an uncertain future due to the Trump Administration's decision to formally end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. We are disappointed with the President's decision to end DACA, as there are many undocumented Dreamers in our diocese who have now lost their sense of security in the only country they know to be home."

If you are a student in need of such support, please contact the Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Jose Rodriguez at [email protected] or 718-489-5315.

In peace and friendship,


Miguel Martinez-Saenz

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