President Holland pledged his support to protect students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program alongside the Commissioner of Higher Education, David Buhler, and the presidents of Utah’s eight public colleges and universities Sept. 6.
A letter addressed to Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Rob Bishop, Rep. Chris Steward and Rep. Mia Love was endorsed by Holland, along with Buhler and eight other Utah university and college presidents.
“Utah’s public colleges and universities have been at the forefront of providing access and opportunity for all of Utah’s students, no matter their background or circumstance,” the letter reads.
The letter seeks a long-term solution in order for all students to continue their education in the country they call home. “We urge you to support a legislative solution as soon as possible to enable all students who have grown up in the United States to continue contributing to their communities and classrooms in ways made possible by higher education,” the letter reads.
DACA is an American immigration policy established by the Obama administration in June 2012. The program allows certain illegal immigrants who came to this country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period work permit without deportation. According to the letter, over 1,200 students will qualify for in-state tuition because of DACA. President Trump has stated DACA will end in six months if Congress is unable to pass legislation on the issue.
Students have joined forces on social media as the elimination of DACA will change the lives of many. In order to raise awareness, the Students For Choice club encouraged President Holland to support DACA and The Dream Act with a Facebook post on Sept. 5. “Matthew S. Holland, will you add your name to this list of over 600 college & university presidents who are urging Trump to continue DACA?” the post reads.
President Holland also tweeted “#UVU=education 4 all” on his personal account Sept. 6.
Alan Ledesma, a journalism student, shared his story through a Facebook video. “I was brought into this country at age nine, and I have benefited from DACA. Thanks to DACA I have been able to attend college and pay for college,” Ledesma said in the video’s description that has since been shared over 100 times and gained over 7,000 views..
A silent march will take place on Sept. 8 at the Fulton Library at 2 p.m. in support of DACA. Holland and Kyle Reyes, Special Assistant to the President for Inclusion, have expressed support of the march through social media. Students, faculty and public are invited to join.