News: President Bogart makes statement regarding DACA

The following is a memorandum emailed the morning of Sept. 5 to members of the Maryville College community from President Tom Bogart regarding U.S. President Donald J. Trump's expected decision on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.


TO:            Faculty, Staff, Students

FROM:      Dr. Tom Bogart, President

RE:            Impending decision regarding DACA program

DATE:      September 5, 2017

Today, President Donald J. Trump is expected to announce a decision regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Created in 2012, the DACA program offers work authorization and deferment from deportation for a two-year renewable period, as well as permission to apply for a driver’s license, to certain young people who were brought to the United States without inspection or who fell out of lawful visa status. Beyond basic requirements related to dates, age, and length of time in the U.S., in order to qualify, a person must also meet these criteria: (1) be enrolled in school, have graduated from high school or obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces; (2) have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three misdemeanors of any kind; and (3) do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Attorneys general from nine states have called on the Trump administration to rescind the program and have set a deadline of today to file a lawsuit against DACA. (Tennessee was among those states threatening legal action, but Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III announced Friday that his office would not participate in the litigation, citing the “human element” of DACA that should not be ignored.) Rescinding the program means a halt to new DACA permits and renewals.

It is estimated that nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers,” are living in the United States; more than 8,000 of them live in Tennessee. Given those statistics – and the College’s historic and continuing commitment to making a Maryville College education accessible to qualified and deserving students – it should come as no surprise to you that the Maryville College student body now includes DACA recipients.

As of this morning, we are unclear about President Trump’s decision and its implications, but we are very clear about the College’s position: We believe ending the DACA program would have a negative impact on our campus community, and if a decision is made to rescind DACA, we will advocate for a reversal. Our DACA students are campus leaders and hard-working scholars who desire to use their Maryville College experience to build better futures for themselves, their families, their communities, this country they call home, and the world.

We will obey immigration laws, but we also will do whatever is within our power to maintain a welcoming and safe campus environment. We will review policies and procedures needed to keep DACA students enrolled and persisting toward graduation. We will respect students’ privacy. And we will work with other higher education institutions and partners such as the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Conexión Américas, TN Educational Equity Coalition, churches, and other community-based organizations to ensure that affected students have access to necessary information and resources.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact me.

Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”