Wrighton signs letter defending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
Chancellor Mark Wrighton joined over 470 other university presidents and chancellors in signing an open letter in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects students whose immigration status would otherwise be threatened.
Wrighton explained his decision in a message to the Washington University community Monday morning.
“In our letter, we stated that [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)] is a moral imperative and national necessity that benefits not only the students in the program, but the country as a whole,” Wrighton’s letter reads.
Washington University previously released a statement to Student Life stating that it “supports the principles outlined in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” which President-elect Donald Trump has stated he intends to repeal.
By signing the open letter, the University makes its first overt statement of support for the program itself, affirming the belief that “DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded.”
The decision to support DACA comes amidst calls—in the form of a demonstration held and petition circulated two weeks ago—to make the University a “sanctuary campus” for students, staff and their families who are “made vulnerable by President-elect Donald Trump.”
The letter also included a reaffirmation of Washington University Police Department’s policy regarding the enforcement of immigration law.
“WUPD is not in the business of enforcing federal immigration law, nor do WUPD officers inquire about immigration status as a matter of course in carrying out their day-to-day responsibilities. That will not change,” the letter reads.
Despite the commitment to DACA, sophomore Maddie King, who was a co-organizer of the demonstrations held in favor of becoming a sanctuary campus, noted that she believed more could still be done.
“This is an encouraging step forward,” she said. “But there is still more work for the University to do in order to protect its students.”
Wrighton, however, expressed hope in his letter to the community.
“I have no doubt that in our own University community, we can set a tone and tenor for inclusion and the celebration of diversity, and we can work together to bridge our divides and treat each other with the respect and support everyone deserves,” Wrighton writes in the letter. “Please join me in recommitting ourselves to that goal.”