GW Monitoring DACA Change, Offering Students Support

Ability to admit students without regard to origin, ethnicity or proof of residency status makes GW a “better institution,” says President LeBlanc.

September 05, 2017

The George Washington University said Tuesday that it will monitor developments surrounding the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and how the federal policy change could impact the university community.

GW does not require applicants to provide proof of citizenship and does not track students who are registered with the DACA program.

“GW is a better institution because of its ability to admit talented, gifted and passionate students without regard to national origin or ethnicity and without requiring residents of the United States to provide documentation,” George Washington President Thomas LeBlanc said. “While we do not have a count of students who are registered with the DACA program or who are undocumented, we are confident that our Colonial family includes such students.

“And we know that DACA has allowed some students who immigrated to the United States as children to thrive in their educational and extracurricular endeavors on campus,” Dr. LeBlanc said. 

DACA allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 to receive exemption from deportation. It was implemented during the administration of President Barack Obama.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, reading from a statement, said Tuesday that DACA “is being rescinded.” Mr. Sessions said that the Department of Homeland Security, which administers DACA, would begin to wind down the program. That process, Mr. Sessions said, would give Congress time to pass legislation on the matter, “should it choose so.”

Elaine C. Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, wrote in a detailed memo that after Tuesday her department would not accept new applications to the DACA program. Ms. Duke said the department would adjudicate properly filed initial pending DACA requests that had been accepted by Tuesday. In addition, students whose DACA status will expire by March 5, 2018, would be considered eligible for renewal if they submit a renewal request by Oct. 5, 2017.

GW webpages outline resources for undocumented students and applicants. Last spring, the university said that in addition to resources it provides all students, the GW Law School’s immigration clinic would offer legal assistance to GW students. The university also has arranged for the additional resource of an external immigration law firm. The firm will answer affected students’ initial questions and will discuss any available options free of charge. Contact Helen Konrad at the firm of McCandlish Holton at hkonrad@lawmh.com.

Likewise, the university's Mental Health Services is prepared to help students confront issues that challenge them.

“We value the contributions that all of our students bring to our campus community,” Dr. LeBlanc said. “Policies that hinder our ability to attract and educate the best and the brightest are not in the interest of GW or the nation’s higher education system.”