Skip to Content

Catholic College Presidents Call on DHS Secretary John Kelly to Protect Immigrant Students

Washington, D.C. — More than 65 presidents of Catholic colleges and universities, as well as the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, are urging Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to clarify the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies regarding recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).​

In a letter released on May 23rd, the presidents are requesting a meeting with Secretary Kelly, who is Catholic, to discuss the administration’s policies and request that he take steps to protect their immigrant students who are at risk of deportation.

“As leaders of Catholic colleges and universities, we are dedicated to educating students from all backgrounds,” the letter states. “Our shared faith calls us to protect the most vulnerable among us. Over the years, we have opened the doors of our colleges and universities to Dreamers and advocated for comprehensive immigration reform so that they and their families can live safe, full lives in our country.”​

Signatories include the presidents from The Catholic University of America, Fordham University, Villanova University, Xavier University (OH), and Loyola University New Orleans.   

“Catholic higher education has a proud history of serving immigrant populations,” said Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., President of Loyola University New Orleans. “Students we educate make vital contributions to the nation. It’s morally wrong and strains common sense to send these young men and women back to countries they do not know when they contribute so much here. We are committed to doing everything we can to protect these students. We urge Secretary Kelly and President Trump to do the same.”​

“For more than two centuries, Catholic higher education has welcomed students on society’s margins, including those whose families immigrated to the United States,” said Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D., President, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. “Our campuses are home to students from around the world who seek to contribute to American society, to the life and mission of the Church, and to their own formation and growth. When Pope Francis visited the United States in 2015, he made special mention of the ‘many gifts’ that immigrants bring to this nation. We affirm those gifts and remain committed to educating young people, brought to the United States by their parents, who come to our universities seeking only to build a brighter future.”​

“At Trinity, we stand in solidarity with our Dreamers and immigrants across the nation in authentic witness to the dignity and worth of every human life,” said Patricia McGuire, President of Trinity Washington University. “No nation can claim greatness by treating our youth as dispensable because of conditions for which they are not responsible. We reject as cruel and immoral, and will resist to the greatest extent possible, any government effort to harm our students and their families.”​

“The Catholic Church has always stood with immigrants, especially young people and families who are seeking a better life,” said John Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America. “In our time, some of those young people are university students who have qualified for DACA protection. While the need for immigration reform is evident, we hope that policy makers will pay particular attention to the integrity of the family, the importance of work, and the dignity of the human person.”​

To read the letter and view the full list of signers, click here.​

CONTACT: Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org.​


Back to top