The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established, in part, to support the 700,00-800,000 young people currently enrolled in American schools of higher education. These young people grew up, attended school and became friends with their US-citizen peers; yet, they also lived much of their lives in a state of uncertainty about their future. By allowing these students to remain part of the fabric which makes up the United States of America, the DACA program hoped to relieve fears related to being undocumented residents of the United States.
However, since its inception during the Obama administration, the fate of these hundreds of thousands of students enrolled in DACA has hung in the balance of hope and concern due to the sustainability of the program resting within presidential, not congressional authority. The answer to the questions about the DACA students’ futures came on September 5th when the White House announced the end of the DACA program.
With the announcement on September 5th, uncertainty has risen to a much higher level. As an institution of higher education, Life West recognizes the potential struggles and consequences resulting from the Administration’s decision. We have sympathy for those enrolled in the program and wish to support every DACA enrollee as one of our own. As an institution that stands behind human rights, along with seeing the unlimited potential within our students, Life West feels very strongly that these young adults should be protected and allowed to continue their efforts as productive members of our society.
We believe it is important to note that the decision to end the DACA program was made despite research which that shows DACA has:
- Reduced the number of unauthorized immigrant households living in poverty.
- Increased the wages and labor force participation in DACA eligible immigrants.
- Increased the mental health outcomes for DACA eligible immigrants and their families.
- Shown benefits to the US economy.
- No impact on the employment for native born workers.
Importantly, a recent poll of 3000 DACA enrollees also revealed that 72% of the participants were currently pursuing higher education. As a college that promotes inclusion and diversity, Life West stands behind the idea that education is for everyone. We believe that being a productive member of society and contributing to the network that makes our country great is one of the highest values we can place on an individual.
With the current uncertainty and the potential end to DACA this March, 2017, Life West is committed to creating a safe haven for those registered in DACA and all unregistered students by the enacting the following:
- Providing up-to-date resources that will communicate accurate information to keep the effected students and the Life West community abreast of upcoming U.S. policies directly relating to this issue.
- Encouraging our administration, faculty and staff to keep Life West a safe place for our students who are and may be in the future affected by the new policy.
- Understanding the possible stress for these students that comes with not knowing what may happen to them, Life West will offer confidential counseling and open lines for communication with Administration to anyone impacted by the new policy.
- Learning more, as an institution dedicated to serving these students, about DACA and the policies that have the potential to affect all undocumented students.
As a place of higher educational learning, guided by a philosophy of Giving, Doing, Loving and Serving out of our own abundance, Life West is committed to supporting and honoring the physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing of all our students, including those that are enrolled in the DACA program.
Dr. Ronald Oberstein
President, Life Chiropractic College West