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Call to action stems from DACA debrief

Students made signs in reaction to the election of President Donald Trump last fall. 


Drake students took time out of their Thursday night to meet in Olmsted to talk about an issue evoking strong emotions. That topic is President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA.

“I feel exhausted,” said Erin Lain, associate provost for campus equity and inclusion. “It just keeps coming. There is no break.”

Trump announced Tuesday he will do away with DACA after a six month window. During that window, Congress has the opportunity to write and pass a new law granting some sort of legal status to roughly 800,000 people currently a part of DACA.

“I feel like sad and frustrated don’t quite cut it,” one student said of her emotions in lower Olmsted. “It’s real people’s lives. It’s just horrible.”

Without action from Congress, it’s expected former DACA recipients will be deported.

“This shouldn’t be happening,” another student said. “This stupid president decided to get rid of it.”

Several students asked Lain and Tony Tyler, director of student engagement, equity and inclusion, what Drake is able to do for DACA students.

“There’s just some legal limits to what we can do,” Lain said.

In the case that Congress doesn’t come up with a solution and Trump goes through with ending DACA, Lain said that federal agents looking to take someone into custody would require a warrant on Drake’s property.

“We are employing all the rights provided to us as a private institution,” Tyler said.

Amir Busnov, assistant director of admission, said neither the admission office nor Drake requires someone to disclose their country of birth. Even if requested, Drake would have no written record to reveal someone’s illegal status.

The conversation then turned toward action.

“I think a lot of students don’t know what DACA is,” one student said. “They don’t understand its impact. That’s why they’re not doing anything.”

The group discussed multiple ways to influence the decisions about DACA from forums to tabling.

They decided to pull on resources from over a dozen organizations to get students and faculty to write 6,000 letters to members of Congress by Oct. 5. The letters are intended to get Senators and House representatives to write an appropriate law to resolve the current state of DACA.

“It’s something we need to keep talking about,” Lain said. “It’s a really critical time. It’s no time at all, but we need that call to action.”

Attendees from Thursday’s meeting are tabling in Olmsted from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.

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