WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- In light of President Trump's controversial decision to suspend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Pace University's president, Marvin Krislov, met with congresswoman Nita Lowey, immigration advocates, legal experts and immigrants themselves at Pace’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law to discuss the complex political environment stemming from the recent announcement.
“I firmly believe in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as a path to education for immigrants,” said Krislov. “The program has served Pace, our community and our country well. During my time at Pace I have already met impressive and highly motivated students, making amazing contributions to the community."
In early September, the Trump Administration announced its decision to end the Obama-era DACA program, which was designed to protect nearly 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Recipients of the program, such as current Pace student, Lisdy Contreras-Giron, explained how removing these young Americans from their communities will have devastating effects.
"We are your neighbors, we are peers, we are your classmates, we are your children’s babysitters, your nurses," she said. "We are individuals who surround you in different aspects of your life each and every day." For many DREAMers like Contreras-Giron, the United States is the only country they have called home.
"Those who have applied for DACA know no other country as their home but the United States due to their age when they arrived," said Carola Otero Bracco, executive director of Neighbors Link. "They grow up alongside of us, pledge allegiance to our flag, have graduated from school with us, pay billions in taxes and contribute to our economic growth and competitiveness," said Lowey. The ultimate goal, all agreed, is to find a clear path to citizenship for these DACA recipients.
"Reaching across the Congressional aisle to formulate a simple, clear pathway to status for the DACA generation is smart and right, not only for them and their families and friends, but for their employers and our economy," said Vanessa Merton, a Pace law professor and director of the Immigration Justice Clinic at Pace's Elisabeth Haub School of Law.