College and University Presidents urge President-elect Trump to - FOX Carolina 21

College and University Presidents urge President-elect Trump to support DACA students

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Furman University bell tower (file/FOX Carolina) Furman University bell tower (file/FOX Carolina)

More than 570 college and university presidents are signing their names on an online statement, started by Pomona College in California. 

They want President-elect Trump to keep and expand the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program,” or DACA for short.  It's something Trump has said he does not support.

And while "DACA" does not give citizenship to those it covers, it has allowed more than 700,000 undocumented young people to temporarily stay in the U.S. including many students at colleges across the country.

The letter, signed by the college presidents, asks President-elect Donald Trump to keep a 2012 program in place.

"Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" was started by President Obama.  It allows children who were brought to the U.S. illegally to stay in the country, if they meet certain guidelines.  It does not provide U.S. citizenship.

Warren Wilson College President Steven Solnick recently added his name to the list in support of DACA.

“I think those of us who signed it consider it to be a moral imperative to go on record that this is an issue that is important to us and to our campuses, to our faculty and to our students, and our communities.

He tells us the threat that DACA could be eliminated, is keeping some of his students up at night.

“I think that's led to a real rise in anxiety, emotional stress.  We're seeing students reporting difficulties focusing on their studies, we’re seeing a rise in consults for our mental health departments.  We’re seeing very high levels of anxiety and I think justifiably so.”

Furman President Elizabeth Davis also signed the statement.

"Furman fully supports the DACA program and the access to higher education that it provides to so many deserving students. Our enduring values require that we recognize and nurture talent in every individual, regardless of status, identity, background or belief. Each person who enters our community, whether as a student, faculty or staff member, parent or guest, belongs here and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect." -Furman President Elizabeth Davis

And Presbyterian College President Robert Staton also signed the statement. 

“As a church-related college, PC is and has been committed to the dignity and self-worth of individuals and respect for people of diverse backgrounds. President Staton has joined the leaders of more than 500 colleges and universities in signing a statement supporting continuation and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) Program. PC believes that DACA shows grace to a group of deserving youth.” - Presbyterian College President Robert Staton

Pastor Mark Burns is a Donald Trump supporter and surrogate.  He said, when it comes to illegal immigration issues, the President-elect's focus most likely won't be on law abiding students.

“The President-elect’s first priority in reference to immigration is going to be the illegal criminal aliens that are here illegally doing criminal activity.  Again, he's made it very clear in his immigration plan that's his number one top priority.  Students are not his number one priority in reference to illegal immigration.”

He adds, while Trump hasn't been in support of DACA, he may be willing to look at a way to help those students that the program was designed to assist.

“There is something going to be in place that could help those that DACA is designed to help but again he is strongly firm on being here legally and making sure that that's the process that takes place.”

For a link to the DACA support statement, click here.

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