As President Donald Trump (R) proposed to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Stony Brook University community members and students voiced their support for the DREAMers — the name given to the approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants that were brought to the United States as children.
University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. stated his and the institution’s continued support of DACA in a Sept. 5 email sent to the campus community.
“We have seen how the recipients of DACA have a positive impact on our campus and broader community,” Stanley said. “Diversity of perspectives, thought and understanding serves as a foundation of Stony Brook’s academic enterprise and helps our students become global citizens. Let’s do what’s right, and unite to support our ‘dreamers’ together.”
Two days later, more than 200 students, faculty members and administrators united in the March for DREAMers rally to show undocumented students at the university their support. In addition, the marchers presented a letter to administrators listing further actions they hope the university will take.
Members of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, an equality advocacy group, were among the rally’s organizers. The group’s Vice-President David Clark felt it was important to stand up for classmates who may feel vulnerable now.
“I wanted to, first of all, raise awareness of the concerns of DACA recipients and DREAMers on campus and also to show support of them on campus,” he said.
Clark said participants were thankful for the institution’s support of undocumented students and appreciated the university’s current stance on DACA, and Stanley’s statement that the campus should be considered a sensitive location by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Clark said the marchers were joined by representatives of non-campus groups including the Islandia-based SEPA Mujer, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of Latina immigrant women.
The college junior said administrators cooperated in securing a ballroom in the student activity center where participants gathered for speeches after walking around a circle and congregating in the main academic mall’s plaza. He said chants included,
“Say it loud. Say it clear. Dreamers are welcomed here.” Marchers held signs with messages that included, “Undocumented and unafraid” and “Sin DACA, Sin Miedo,” which in Spanish means, “Without DACA, without fear.”
Clark was satisfied with the turnout of the peaceful protest.
“I was really happy that so many Stony Brook students care about their fellow classmates, friends who are undocumented, who are getting through a very hard time right now, a time of uncertainty for them,” he said.
In their letter, marchers asked the university to ensure SBU would not provide information to ICE about any undocumented students or their families, not allow ICE to take students into custody without a judicial warrant, and to let students know if ICE is on campus through the university’s alert systems. The organizers also asked that a list be available on the website of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to notify those who are not citizens where private scholarships may be available to them.
Stanley said in his Sept. 5 email that the university does not request or require immigration status as part of the admissions process. He added that immigration status is not a factor in student housing decisions, and the university does not share private information.