ALAMOSA — Adams State University President Beverlee J. McClure said the university strongly supports continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the White House ended September 5, with a six-month delay to allow Congress to devise an alternate plan.
“As Colorado’s first four-year Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), we disagree with this decision. Adams State is proud of our diverse student body and lives up to our core values, the first and foremost of which is providing educational opportunity and access for all,” McClure said.
DACA has given some 800,000 undocumented immigrants a chance to attend college, work, and build lives in the United States without fear of immediate deportation. Those participating in DACA, so-called Dreamers, were brought to the U.S. as children, attended U.S. high schools, and have no criminal record. Their DACA deferral from deportation has allowed them to attend college and legally hold a job in the U.S.
“To rescind DACA now would be cruel and unfair to these students who have spent most of their lives in this country. Our nation would also suffer negative economic impacts and lose the talent and potential these Dreamers bring to our communities,” McClure added.
During a special meeting on May 12, the Adams State University Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to uphold principles of equity which includes a commitment to publicly support the continuation of the DACA program and the Colorado Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow (ASSET) Program, which offers in-state tuition to Colorado’s undocumented students.
McClure was one of more than 600 college and university presidents who signed the "Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students."
That statement reads in part: “To our country’s leaders, we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded. . . This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity. America needs talent – and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future.”
McClure emphasized, “We want all of our students to know that our campus will remain a safe and supportive environment where they can pursue their dreams. For nearly 100 years, Adams State has been unequivocally committed to providing a safe haven for learning, growing, and expanding.”
Adams State's undergraduate student body is the most ethnically diverse of Colorado’s four-year institutions, with total minority enrollment of 45 percent. Hispanics make up 35 percent of the undergraduate student body.
ASU students are not specifically tracked by DACA status, according to Ken Marquez, Vice President for Student Services.