Clark Administration Supports Dreamers

Patricia Doherty is prepared to assist DACA students


Monica Sager, Contributing Writer

On Sept. 5, Jeff Sessions, attorney general of the United States, announced the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

“Like many of you, I am dismayed at President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” President David Angel wrote in a school-wide email that same day.

Patricia Doherty, director of the International Students and Scholars Office, has been assigned to help Clark University’s DACA students, who are “lumped into that [category].”

She helps students individually, especially “if they need help interpreting laws.” Doherty also helps DACA students with what their options are for after Clark.

The DACA policy was established by the Obama administration in 2012, and former President Barack Obama announced his intentions to expand the program in 2014. The plan was to include illegal immigrants as well. In 2012, Obama stated in a speech that this was “to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people.” Deferred Action could have been requested if an individual met one of the seven criteria, which included currently being in school and arriving in the United States before turning 16 years old.

But with the implementation of Trump’s repeal, DACA has been suspended for six months.

DACA has deferred deportations to people, colloquially known as “dreamers,” who arrived in the United States as undocumented children. According to the Department of Homeland Security, DACA has deferred over 787,000 deportations since this past March.

“I’m very disheartened by the recent…news from Donald Trump,” said Doherty. “The only good part of it is—perhaps—in the next few months Congress will act on DACA so that we have a better solution.”

The solution Doherty was referring to is allowing DACA students to become residents if they want to be, because “they had no say in coming here.” Doherty was also adamant on allowing DACA students’ parents to have access to residency as well.

At Clark, international students need to be on the university’s insurance unless their home country’s insurance is “as robust” as Clark’s. DACA students are a special case. Since they live in the United States, they typically have the same insurance as domestic students. However, how they pay their fee or who they pay it to may be different.

“It’s tough because the situation is so awful,” said Doherty. “At the same time, it’s wonderful because I want to help them.”

It looks like some of the progress Doherty was talking about may come into play. Republican Senators Thom Tillis, James Lankford, and Orrin Hatch revealed their first step to “fixing” the DACA bill. The senators stressed that immigration as a whole needs to be re-addressed. House Speaker Paul Ryan said to radio station WCLO, “I believe that this is something that Congress has to fix.”

According to Tillis’s tweet on Sept. 25, the SUCCEED Act (Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers Employment Education and Defending our nation), would be made up of “four core principles: compassion, merit, prevention, and fairness.”

After five years of employment or earning a degree, a recipient of the SUCCEED Act would be eligible for another five-year protection. Then the person could apply for a green card.

“I think this is better than nothing,” said Doherty. “At least there is some hope if this goes through…but if it does go through, there will probably be a whole lot of changes to it.”

A DACA student explained that there are a lot of rules during a longer path to permanent residency, but rules such as having a degree would be accomplished upon graduation.

While all of this is happening, Angel has calming words for students.

“Please be assured,” Angel wrote, “Clark will support DACA students who are members of Clark University.”