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Offices & Services > Center for Intercultural Life > Undocumented/DACA-mented Students

Messages to the Community

Contact

Tianna Cervantez

Director of the Center for Intercultural Life

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999

309-341-7231

tcervant@​knox.edu

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Statements in Support of Our Undocumented and DACAmented Students

September 5, 2017

Dear Knox Community,

Today Attorney General Sessions announced that the Department of Homeland Security will stop accepting new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). As reported in the Washington Post, "Those enrolled in DACA will be able to continue working until their permits expire; those whose permits expire by March 5, 2018 will be permitted to apply for two-year renewals as long as they do so by Oct. 5. New applications and renewal requests already received by DHS before Tuesday will be reviewed and validated on a case-by-case basis, even those for permits that expire after March 5."

Like many hundreds of other college presidents who have advocated publicly for the DACA program, I am appalled by this decision, which places 800,000 individuals who put their faith in the DACA program at risk of deportation. Over the past year, many CEOs of major companies and legislators of both parties have also affirmed their support for DACA and mobilized to save this essential program. If you agree, I urge you to join this critical effort and call your elected representatives to ask for their support for legislative remedies in the next six months.

As we have said before, the College will continue to stand with our undocumented and DACA-mented students and all who seek to build a better future through education. We have been communicating directly with our affected DACA-mented students during these uncertain times and will continue to identify ways to support them in this new policy environment. You can find information on the web pages of the Center for Intercultural life.

At this time, civic engagement offers the most effective way of supporting our students. For more information, you can reference the comparison of current and proposed legislative actions circulated by Director of Governmental and Community Affairs Karrie Heartlein earlier this week. We encourage all of you who have views on this matter to contact your representatives in Congress. Please do so as soon as possible so that we can work toward ending the uncertainty and pain this decision creates for our undocumented and DACA-mented students.

For those who live in the Galesburg area, your Congressional delegation includes Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Representative Cheri Bustos. For those who live in the Peoria area, your representative in Congress is Representative Darin LaHood. If you have a different state of residence, learn more about where to direct your thoughts on this urgent matter.

Thank you for supporting our students.

Teresa L. Amott
President, Knox College


January 29, 2017

Dear Knox Community,

Last week's federal actions have significant implications for members of our community and for colleges and universities across the country. Some of these actions could have direct impacts on students who have been granted protections under DACA-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals-and on citizens of other countries, particularly the seven specific countries identified in the action. While implementation details are unclear and legal challenges have already been filed, these actions have the potential of violating Knox College's long-standing commitment to the open exchange of ideas in an international community that values all of its members, regardless of their national origin or immigration status.

Nationwide, and at Knox, there have been calls to declare campuses as sanctuaries. I recognize the urgency behind these concerns and, therefore, my priority is on the actions we take rather than on the label we attach to our actions. On behalf of the College, I restate our commitment to do everything in our power to protect members of our campus community who may be vulnerable as a result of their immigration status.

  • Knox College does not share information regarding a student's immigration status unless required by law or as authorized by the student, continuing our long-standing compliance with federal and state student privacy laws.
  • We do not voluntarily enter into agreements with federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law, except as required by law.
  • We do not allow immigration officials, or other law enforcement personnel authorized to enforce immigration laws, into our campus buildings or assist them in investigating or detaining undocumented students unless we are required to do so by law.
  • Campus Safety officers are here to protect our students and the College community, and do not contact or question an individual solely on the basis of suspected immigration status or to discover their immigration status.
  • Colleges and universities-like medical centers and religious sites-have been deemed "sensitive locations," meaning that immigration authorities have been generally instructed not to conduct enforcement activities in these places without permission unless national security is threatened or some other exigent circumstance exists. We will advocate for the continued extension of this provision.
  • We continue our long-standing practice of admitting students without regard to national origin or their immigration status. Once admitted, the College does everything we can to ensure that all students have access to the educational opportunities they deserve through our financial aid and other policies.
  • Last year's Commencement speaker, Senator Dick Durbin, along with both Republican and Democratic co-sponsors in the House and Senate, recently introduced the BRIDGE Act to extend protections under DACA. Last November, I signed a statement in support of the DACA program along with more than 600 college presidents, and I urge you to join me in communicating with your elected representatives if you wish to support the BRIDGE Act.
  • We will continue to work with immigration attorneys and advocacy organizations to determine how best to support our community members.

All of these actions are consistent with the College's historic and contemporary commitments to social justice. We graduated our first international student in 1870, Fahmy Yahny from Sierra Leone, and, today, Knox is not just an intellectually rich and vibrant learning community-it is one of the most diverse and most international liberal arts colleges in the country.

Finally, let me offer a personal reflection. Just yesterday, I returned from the annual meeting of the Association of American College & Universities. Much of the meeting was spent discussing the very issues about which I'm writing to you today. I will continue to communicate with other college presidents and our elected officials about these issues and to advocate on behalf of all members of our community who are affected. These are matters of significant importance to me personally and as president of Knox College. Some of you may know that my mother was an immigrant from Brazil to the United States and that I spent my childhood years abroad. I came to this diverse academic community because of its welcoming and inclusive promise, and I pledge to ensure that our College remains a welcoming and inclusive academic community that educates leaders for a changing world. I will keep you posted on any new developments in the coming days and weeks.

Teresa L. Amott
President, Knox College

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Printed on Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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