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UPDATED: January 22, 2015, at 3:27 a.m.
Following the U.S. House of Representatives' approval of an amendment that would cut funding for a key Obama administration immigration initiative, University President G. Faust wrote a letter to the Massachusetts House delegation last week critiquing the move.
The amendment, attached to a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, is an effort to roll back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a measure that President Barack Obama has expanded during his administration. While not paving a path for citizenship, DACA status allows young, undocumented immigrants protection against deportation and a two-year renewable work permit.
The funding bill and amendment, which narrowly passed the House, must win approval in the Senate and avoid a veto from Obama to become law.
“I believe strongly that education and service are the pathways to better neighbors, stronger communities, and economic growth as well as personal satisfaction and happiness,” Faust wrote in a letter to U.S. Rep. Katherine M. Clark that Harvard shared with The Crimson. “Since 2012, the availability of a legal status through DACA has advanced these goals by throwing a lifeline to thousands of students who have known no other home than communities across the United States.”
Referring to Harvard specifically, Faust praised the students that DACA has allowed to enroll.
“At Harvard, DACA has made it possible for talented students to pursue their education, grow their talents, and explore meaningful ways of contributing to our community and economy,” Faust wrote. “Putting them once again at risk by reversing DACA will run counter to these efforts and our larger goals of developing the best and brightest students.”
Harvard is one of few schools in the nation that extends its need-blind admissions policy to all applicants, regardless of legal or national status. Last year, undocumented students at the University entered the national spotlight when Dario Guerrero-Meneses ’15, who arrived in the country when he was 2 years old, left to visit his dying mother in Mexico and was unable to return to Harvard for several months until his application for a humanitarian visa was approved.
Faust’s position in the letter, dated Jan. 12, is not new. For years, she has levied the power and prestige of the Harvard presidency and taken on the role of a political actor advocating for certain immigration policies.
In 2009, Faust wrote a letter to congressmen Edward M. Kennedy ’54-’56, John F. Kerry, and Michael E. Capuano praising the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM), which would offer a path to citizenship for select undocumented immigrants. In 2010, she co-authored an op-ed with Stanford president John L. Hennessy further supporting the DREAM act. In 2010, she co-authored a letter with the presidents of several other Boston schools to Senators John F. Kerry and Scott P. Brown applauding the proposed DREAM act.
—Staff writer Theodore R. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @trdelwic.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: January 22, 2015
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program offers young undocumented immigrants a three-year renewable work permit. In fact, the permit is for two years.
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