NIU Says It Stands With Its Undocumented Students, Regardless Of DACA's Fate

Sep 5, 2017

Credit NIU

Northern Illinois University responded Tuesday to the announcement by the Trump administration that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals -- or DACA -- program. 

The end of DACA could lead to those in the program losing protections that allow them to go to college or get a job without fear of deportation.

NIU Acting President Lisa Freeman emailed a statement to the campus community emphasizing the school’s commitment to admitting, retaining -- and supporting -- all its students, regardless of immigration status.

Dr. Vernese Edghill-Walden, Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity, said NIU is standing with its undocumented students.

“We believe that they are a part of our community,” she said, “and they deserve to be here, just like anyone else.”

Edghill-Walden said the school has been meeting with undocumented students for the last year or so about what resources it can offer them. She said NIU will continue to help them through scholarships, support groups, faculty advocates, academic resource centers and other services. 

Dr. Vernese Edghill-Walden
Credit NIU

“We just want them to know that that support is not dependent on what decision was made in the White House,” she said, “but it’s something we really believe is the right thing to do for our community.”

President Freeman said NIU is encouraging elected officials to reach a legislative solution quickly that will give the school’s undocumented students and graduates a chance to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

She and Edghill-Walden said students who want their voices heard on the issue should engage with advocacy groups like student-run organization DREAM Action NIU.

There’s a good deal of uncertainty over what will happen, and when, with DACA participants. But Freeman and Edghill-Walden said students should continue going to class, with the knowledge that the university will remain a welcoming place for them.