Reaffirming Williams' support for undocumented community members

To the Williams community

Williams has repeatedly voiced our support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and its participants. Today I write to reaffirm that support in the wake of a new, although hopefully temporary setback to the program.

Since 2012, DACA has offered people living in the U.S. without a path to legalization a renewable, two-year shield from deportation and the chance to legally work and study in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of people have built lives in America under DACA over the ensuing nine years, including members of the Williams community.

Unfortunately, DACA participants also suffer from ongoing resistance to the program. A series of lawsuits challenging its constitutionality, while generally unsuccessful in the courts, have prompted legal stays and created uncertainty for participants and their loved ones. In the latest example, a federal district court in Texas ruled earlier this month that DACA is illegal. Under the ruling those already enrolled will be allowed to remain in the program and apply for renewals, but new applications cannot be reviewed.

The Biden Administration has announced its intention to appeal. But given the uncertainty that the ruling is causing, I want to publicly reiterate Williams’ support for our people who are enrolled in or affected by DACA. If you’re a member of that group, you’re also a full member of this community. We’re proud that you’ve chosen to be so. Students, if you need help there are many people available to support you. Please contact Associate Dean and Director of International Student Services Ninah Prettothe Davis Center team or the Chaplains for advice. Their help is also available to people who aren’t enrolled in DACA or who have Temporary Protected Status.

Meanwhile, we’ll add the college’s voice to amicus briefs and statements supporting the need to create a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and others living in immigration uncertainty. I encourage every member of this community to match beliefs with action on the issue. That includes an open invitation to attend upcoming programming on a variety of immigration-related topics, which will be announced in Daily Messages.

If you or someone you know at Williams has been subjected to anti-immigrant or any other form of bias, please report it to the college via our Bias Incident Reporting form so that we can take action.

Whether or not a given anti-DACA lawsuit prevails in the courts, it contributes incrementally to participants’ feelings of instability and vulnerability amidst  nationwide anti-immigrant, ethnic and racial violence.

And so I want to reiterate: If you’re a DACA participant, Williams welcomes, embraces and supports you.