Statement from President Martha E. Pollack on White House Rescission of DACA Program


Dear Cornell Community,

Earlier today, the Trump Administration announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is being rescinded. This policy reversal, the enforcement of which we believe will be delayed for six months, puts our DACA students’ futures in jeopardy and, as such, is extremely troubling. As I wrote in my letter to President Trump last week, Cornell since its founding has been committed to diversity and inclusion, and DACA students are an integral part of our community. They were brought to this country before they had a choice in the matter, have grown up here, and are succeeding here despite significant challenges and obstacles. I believe they deserve a chance to fulfill their dreams, and this action has the potential to extinguish those dreams.

While the full implications of today’s announcement are not yet known, it appears that, absent congressional action, in six months DACA students will lose protections from deportation and permits to work in the United States. The order also severely restricts the movement of DACA students, who will no longer be able to re-enter the country should they leave. These are very real impacts. To each of our students who must now fear for their future, please know that Cornell stands with you.

I write today with the following commitments to our DACA students:

  • Cornell will continue to vigilantly protect the privacy of student information and records from any unauthorized disclosure in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • While Cornell representatives, including the Cornell University Police Department, will comply with lawfully issued subpoenas and warrants, it is neither the university’s practice nor expectation to function as an agent of the federal government regarding enforcement of federal immigration laws.
  • All currently enrolled undergraduate students who had DACA status will continue to be considered in the “domestic” financial aid pool (need-based, meeting full demonstrated need) for the remainder of their Cornell undergraduate program.
  • Enrolled graduate students who had DACA status and receive funding through the university will continue to receive funding for the complete length of time offered in their admission letters (assuming satisfactory academic progress). If funded graduate students who had DACA status lose federal work authorization, fellowship funding (which does not require this authorization) will be provided to these students instead of an assistantship. I encourage graduate students with DACA status to contact Associate Dean Sara Hernandez (sh267@cornell.edu) to begin making financial and other support arrangements.
  • Cornell will develop and administer programs to support undocumented students who would have qualified for DACA and who meet certain criteria, particularly having resided in the U.S. for a significant amount of time.
  • Cornell will provide dedicated staff to support undocumented students.
  • Dean of Students Vijay Pendakur will reconvene the Cornell Committee to Support Undocumented Students, comprising faculty, staff, and students, to advise leadership on this issue going forward.
  • We will make on-campus housing options available for students who are concerned about traveling abroad during school breaks or the summer; those interested should contact Kristen Loparco at kme64@cornell.edu for more information.

Importantly, we will continue to actively and aggressively engage federal policymakers in an effort to either reverse today’s order or secure a legislative remedy. We are urging the White House and our elected officials in Washington to support legislative proposals including (but not limited to) bipartisan legislation – the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act, a stopgap measure that would allow DACA students a three-year window of protection and halt them from being deported.

Our commitment to Cornell University’s founding principles is unwavering. We support all our students in their quest to pursue their education and achieve their dreams.

Sincerely,

Martha E. Pollack
President


Available Services

For assistance and more information, Cornell offers several informational and counseling services and posts updates on immigration-related executive orders.

Cornell Law School has set up a program to provide free legal advice to undocumented Cornell students who may wish to consult with a lawyer about the implications of national immigration policy shifts for their immigration status. And a team of law school faculty offer legal assistance in the form of representation for DACA students for which a legal representation fund has been established. For assistance, contact immigrationhelp@cornell.edu or call 607-254-4638

Cornell students and scholars with concerns relating to immigration status can always contact the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (vpia@cornell.edu) or the Dean of Students Office (dean_of_students@cornell.edu).