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A Message from Fr. Shanley to the Members of the Providence College Community

Dear Members of the Providence College Community:

Today, President Trump announced that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  The President is calling on Congress to enact a legislative solution before the DACA program expires on March 5, 2018.  No action against anyone currently protected by the program is expected before then.

There have been numerous calls for the continuation of this program from many members of Congress, the higher education community, civic and business leaders, and religious faith leaders across the country.  Many of these groups and associations have sent letters to the President to this effect.  I have personally signed several of them, including letters prepared by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and Faith in Public Life, and have authored two other letters to then-Secretary of Homeland Security, John F. Kelly, and to President Trump directly.

These letters clearly state that the institutions we represent welcome and embrace people of every nation and faith, and that we stand in solidarity with all the immigrant and international members of our community, documented or not. Our advocacy flows from the fact that the moral obligation to protect the dignity and life of every human person lies at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching.  Every person is created in the image and likeness of our Creator and, as such, has inestimable value.  Human persons are never to be treated with such wanton disregard for their flourishing, their well-being, or their psychological stability. This is especially the case with persons who are most vulnerable, which includes our immigrant youth. The decision to end DACA has created unnecessary fear and anxiety in young people who have worked hard to become beacons of hope and determination, not only for themselves, but for their extended families.  It is unconscionable that they now face being relocated to another country when the only place they have known as home has been America.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has already declared today’s decision “reprehensible.”  As a Catholic institution, we stand with their declaration and reaffirm our commitment to welcome all qualified individuals to the Providence College community.  Our commitment to these students (and their families) will not waver.  It is imperative that they be allowed to reach their God-given potential and flourish in our community, as many of them are already doing.  To that end, we will continue to offer support to, and to work with, the Providence Immigration Rights Coalition (PIRC) to meet the changing needs of our undocumented students, those with temporary protected status, our “dreamers,” and all those affected by this decision.

I urge our entire campus community to keep the members of Congress in your prayers, that God may give them the wisdom and the strength to effect a legislative solution to this issue.  May our Congressional leaders affirm the dignity of the young people in this program, recognize their future potential, and acknowledge and support the hopes and dreams they represent—not only for themselves, but for their families, and for us, as well.

Fr. Shanley