Augsburg University President shows support for DACA students

- As classes start at universities across Minnesota this week, one school president is making it clear undocumented students are safe on his campus.

Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow says as it became clear this holiday weekend that President Donald Trump would announce an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he needed to act fast.

As the leader of a university that'll welcome an incoming first-year undergraduate class of more than 53 percent persons of color, he wanted to make sure everyone feels included.

"We think about how we can keep them safe, certainly faculty having a little bit more latitude for students that they may not always feel safe coming to campus," said Pribbenow.

Pribbenow is unsure of how many DACA recipients attend Augsburg since they don't ask students what their immigration status is upon acceptance.

He says the diverse backgrounds and unique perspectives they bring to campus are invaluable. That's why he felt compelled to write this blog post Monday. He wrote in part, "Since 2012, our DACA students have been able to enhance their education through work and study abroad opportunities, vital educational experiences not available to them before DACA was created. A decision now to curtail DACA would rob these innocent young people of their opportunity for education--a promise we have made to them..."

"When we saw what was happening and this notion that there might be some change in the policy this week, we knew we needed to get out in front of that for our students," he said.

Pribbenow says at this point, he and his staff are here to offer emotional support, but they are ready to jump into action to get undocumented students degrees if needed.

"We'll be preparing for the fact that students aren't able to be on campus to finish their education,” he said. “We are going to look for ways for students to continue that education online or in other ways."

A six-month delay is expected to take place after Trump ends DACA on Tuesday. That's supposed to give Congress time to get a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed.

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