DACA Repeal: What it means for the Villanova Community

Chris Deucher

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program formed by an executive order of former President Barack Obama, is to be phased out due to the new administration’s rescission decision.   “Deferred action for childhood arrivals allows certain individuals, who meet specific guidelines, to request consideration of deferred action from USCIS,” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states. “Individuals who receive deferred action will not be placed into removal proceedings or removed from the United States for a specific period of time unless terminated. If you receive deferred action, you may be eligible for employment authorization.” 

Due to the rescission announcement, “Individuals who have not submitted an application by Sept. 5, for an initial request under DACA may no longer apply.  USCIS will reject all applications for initial requests received after Sept. 5,” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website states.

In response to the decision to end DACA, the University and Student Government Association have both sent emails—reprinted below—to the University community.

Dear Members of the Villanova Community: 

This year, as we celebrate Villanova’s 175th anniversary, I have recounted the story of our founding on numerous occasions. Villanova University was established by the Order of St. Augustine to educate the children of Irish immigrants.  As an institution founded to serve this population, the recent decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is disheartening.

I, along with many college and university presidents, have stated our support and commitment to the DACA program over the past year. Villanova’s commitment to provide support for all students—regardless of their immigration status—remains unchanged. We remain steadfast in our support for Villanova students and families who are affected by the DACA decision.

We do not require students to divulge their immigration or citizenship status, so we do not have an exact number of those directly impacted by these developments. Therefore, I would urge our students who are directly affected by this announcement to speak with someone on campus who can provide information and support. The Villanova Law School Clinic for Asylum, Refugee, and Emigrant Services will continue to serve as a resource for those impacted by the rescission of DACA. In addition, both the Villanova Counseling Center and the Center for Access Success and Achievement offer personal advising sessions and sessions with a trained, licensed psychologist who can assist students.

The University will not provide information concerning our students to federal immigration authorities, unless it is in response to a judicial warrant or other legal requirement. Any subpoenas and warrants regarding undocumented students would be handled by the Office of General Counsel, which will comply with all regular legal requirements. Additionally, our department of Public Safety does not carry out immigration-related duties and does not ask about immigration status when they come in contact with students. Villanova faculty and staff should not generally inquire into the immigration status of students, unless required to do so as part of their job duties.

Our University mission calls us to “welcome and respect members of all faiths who seek to nurture a concern for the common good and who share an enthusiasm for the challenge of responsible and productive citizenship in order to build a just and peaceful world.” In uncertain times such as this, the manner in which we respond to these recent decisions is a direct reflection of our commitment to that mission. As a Catholic Augustinian University, we must continue to protect the most vulnerable among us.

Villanova is home to more than 10,000 students from many backgrounds and nationalities and they are all essential to the vitality of our community. There is no doubt that over the past 175 years, Villanova University has benefitted tremendously from the contributions made to our community and nation by immigrants. We will continue to do all that we can to support all of our members.


Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA President

Dear fellow Students,

The Villanova Student Government Association re-affirms the decision of University President Fr. Peter Donohue, O.S.A. Ph.D. to support the statement released by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. Additionally, we repudiate the decision of the President of the United States to exhibit inhumane treatment of immigrants contrary to our university values. Many of us chose Villanova because of what it represents: A community grounded in service to others, unity, and love for each other. The decision to let DACA lapse is in direct contradiction to these ideals.

SGA’s mission is to build our campus community up, and that includes every student regardless of immigration status.

Much like this University, the United States has historically served as a “new home” for all who endeavored to live by a common thread of ideas. Each addition to our communities wove new life into the fabric of our future. We became stronger through diversity, not in spite of it.

To all in our campus community who may be afraid, we stand with you. 

To those free from the fear of uncertainty, we implore empathy. When one member of our Villanova family hurts, so too do we all.

We encourage you to contact your Senators and Representatives whether you are registered to vote in Pennsylvania or back at home. Our collective voices are the most powerful bulwark against injustice. Additionally, we want to remind anyone at Villanova who could be affected by this decision to seek out resources on campus. The Villanova Law School Clinic for Asylum, Refugee, and Emigrant Services, Villanova Counseling Center, and the Center for Access Success and Achievement are all mentioned in Fr. Peter’s letter to the student body, and are here to assist you. 

Finally, we call upon every member of our campus community to stand up not only for their peers left wondering if America and Villanova will remain home, but also for everyone living in our country that is second guessing whether or not they too deserve to share our dream of enduring idealism and a goal of a better and more secure tomorrow.


The Villanova Student Government Association