CWU News

DACA Statement from President Gaudino

The decision by President Trump to terminate the popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program is a profound disappointment. But I am committed to stand up for our students, who are among the 800,000 nationwide registered under DACA. These young men and women are some of the finest and most resilient students at our colleges and universities, often exhibiting unique character forged by the fire of adversity.

We have seen the enormous benefits of DACA for our students and the highly positive impact they have had on our institutions and communities. The state of Washington has an estimated 17,000 students benefiting from DACA and they are important contributors to our campuses and our communities.

Eliminating this program will have a negative impact on our economy; the conservative CATO Institute recently estimated that repealing DACA would result in a $260 billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade. Worse, it will have an equally disruptive effect on the lives of these young people, who have proven themselves to be hard-working and law-abiding.

The state of Washington and CWU have adopted several policies that protect students fearful of being deported. State law allows state residents to attend public colleges and universities at resident rates and to receive state financial aid regardless of citizenship status.

CWU police work for me, not for federal immigration officers. Enforcing federal immigration law is the responsibility of federal law enforcement agencies, not CWU police. Additionally, CWU campus police do not question people about their immigration status and do not detain or arrest undocumented persons just because they are undocumented.

Our campus does not volunteer information about student enrollees and does not disclose protected information from their student education records, except as required in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or court order.

The dreamers are, as President Barack Obama has written and as our trustees and I have affirmed, “Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.” And I, for one, believe they should have an opportunity to stay and have a path to citizenship.

I strongly urge Congress and the President to quickly pass legislation to do just that. The DACA program has provided these young people, most of whom have spent nearly their entire lives in this country, with hope and a chance to achieve a better life. It is only right and just that we permit these young people to continue to be allowed to positively contribute to our communities and to our country.

James L. Gaudino
Central Washington University