Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision preserving the DACA program, for now, is welcome news for Dreamers and for all of us celebrating the strength of our communities by keeping them here in their homes. I do hope Congress will move swiftly to once and for all relieve America’s nearly 700,000 Dreamers of their years-long immigration status uncertainty.
Such action would reflect what colleges, universities and our associations have advocated for years. I’ve said since the start of my tenure as president that my top priority is an MSU campus that is safe, respectful and welcoming if it is to fulfill its land-grant mission to provide access to educational opportunity for all. Now is the right moment for action, as the inequities and brutalities of racism bring uncounted Americans into the streets calling for justice.
As this university argued in a statement more than two years ago: “We believe that the nation’s competitiveness is likewise strengthened by the presence of this motivated and deserving group of immigrants. Those brought to the United States as children and who grew up in the United States, knowing no other country, should be allowed to pursue their dreams here and to contribute to our society. That is the right and fair thing to do, for them and for the nation.”
America and its higher education system, especially its research universities such as MSU, gain strength from the drive of immigrant and international students and scholars. Their positive contributions to our campuses, communities and nation are undeniable. Actions to limit reasonable immigration and travel, such as the April executive order temporarily suspending the issuance of green cards and the May presidential proclamation restricting entry of some graduate students and researchers from China, only hurt all of us in the long run and disadvantages the nation in the global knowledge economy.
The rhetoric behind anti-immigrant measures adds to the doubts international students and scholars might have when considering whether to pursue their studies in America. Coronavirus-related xenophobia makes it an even more difficult period for our Chinese students, post-doctoral scholars, faculty and staff, who are respected and welcomed members of our campus community.
This decision, coupled with the landmark case the Supreme Court ruled on earlier this week making it clear employers may not terminate an employee based on their sexual identity or gender identity, gives me hope for a brighter future for all who seek better opportunities for themselves, their families and the world.
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.