Graphic courtesy of Southern Coalition for Social Justice

According to the Washington Post… St. John’s and DePaul were among a group of universities expressing solidarity with undocumented students.

More than 70 leaders in Catholic higher education have signed a statement of solidarity with undocumented students, urging protection for those who arrived in the United States as children at a time when the incoming Trump administration is pledging to crack down on illegal immigration.

Among the signers of the statement made public Wednesday by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities were the presidents of Villanova University, DePaul University, Boston College and Catholic University in the nation’s capital.

In the statement, the leaders took note of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Obama administration launched in 2012. DACA shields from deportation certain undocumented immigrants who arrived before their 16th birthday and enables them to obtain a work permit. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to rescind executive actions on immigration that he considers overreach, and his transition team says DACA is an example.

“Many of us count among our students young men and women who are undocumented, their families having fled violence and instability,” the statement from Catholic educators said. “These students have met the criteria of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, issued in 2012. We, the undersigned presidents of Catholic colleges and universities, express hope that the students in our communities who have qualified for DACA are able to continue their studies without interruption and that many more students in their situation will be welcome to contribute their talents to our campuses.”

The statement issued Wednesday does not go as far as one circulated last week — now signed by more than 400 college and university leaders — that urged the nation’s leaders to uphold and expand DACA. But it reinforced the sense that many in higher education are mobilizing to protect a vulnerable student population at a time of upheaval in immigration policy.