UIS responds to DACA concerns

One of President Trump’s big changes is to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, with a six-month wind-down that gives Congress time to preserve it in some form. This means no new applications will be accepted under the program, but those currently enrolled may maintain their DACA status until their permits expire.

With the future of the program uncertain at best, many DACA students worry about their status and safety at their universities.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch, along with other leaders in the U of I System, openly support DACA students. Koch believes that DACA students are an important part of the future of Illinois, and UIS will always be very supportive to DACA students.

“We have joined our colleagues on the American Council on Education and communicate directly with the white house, strongly encouraging them to resolve the DACA issue for our students,” she said.

According to Sophia Gehlhausen Anderson, the coordinator of Programs and Outreach for Hispanic/Latino Students, not only DACA students worry about the status of the policy. Friends and family of DACA students also worry.

Anderson believes that the main barrier for DACA students would be the financial difficulties that come with paying for school, since they do not qualify for any federal financial aid or student loans.

Anderson is not only providing emotional support, she is also offering resources like a scholarship that DACA students can apply for to ease their financial burden.

“I also educate the campus community, connect with colleagues and other campuses of U of I to communicate the best way to support immigrant documented or undocumented students.” She said.

Edwin Robles, the UIS student representative to the Board of Trustees, spoke about DACA during the first Student Government Association meeting of the semester.

“I know, personally, I have family that are DACA recipients, so it’s a very scary time,” Robles said. “[SGA senators] should promote that students have resources here on campus, that they can go talk to people, because students are scared.”

According to Koch, the main reason that UIS strongly supports DACA students is because the University of Illinois is above all committed to welcoming all students to one of the University of Illinois campuses, so students can earn a U of I degree.

“We are committed to be accessible, which means for those who are qualified, our doors are open,” she said.

In a joint press release, U of I system leaders said, “We pledge to assist and support our students throughout the process, and we will continue to protect confidential student and employee information to the fullest extent allowed by law.”