WASHINGTON, D.C. –On Wednesday, October 25th, Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), urged each Jesuit alum now serving in the 115th United States Congress to pass a bipartisan Dream Act and save DACA students. Fr. Sheeran’s remarks during a press conference in Washington, D.C. featured higher education leaders from across the country, and members from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, including Senate Assistant Minority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
To watch Fr. Sheeran’s remarks from the press conference, please click on the picture below.
Fr. Sheeran said, “We know the Dreamers because they bless all of our campuses. You might miss them because they look and speak like any other American youngster. They are excellent, well-prepared students who held their mother’s hand or clung to their father’s neck as they came across the border. They’ve done nothing wrong. Instead, they serve others. They have been in high school ROTC, they volunteer as tutors to grade school kids, they volunteer in churches and nursing homes. They have so much to give our country, from their personal initiative to their economic impact.
“Ten percent of the members of the Senate and House are graduates of our 28 Jesuit colleges and universities; scores more are graduates of our high schools. To those alums in particular, I speak today through the cameras in the back of the room. We taught you about responsible citizenship. Republican or Democrat, that sense of civic responsibility is an underlying part of why you are in Congress today. You learned in school about the obligation to respect and protect the natural rights of other human beings, especially when they stand in need before you, and you have the power to help.
“You now have the power – in a way we ordinary citizens do not – the power to do justice for these students. Live up to what you’ve learned in our schools. And persuade your peers to do the same. Republican, Democrat, on this issue be “a man or woman for others.” Free these DACA students to be the Americans they already are in their hearts.”
In addition to Fr. Sheeran, speakers included Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Kamala Harris (D-CA); House Democratic Caucus Chair, Representative Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY); University of California, Davis Chancellor Gary S. May; State University of New York System Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson; University at Albany-SUNY President Havidán Rodríguez; University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi; Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.; and two Dreamers, Nejvi Bejko and Leezia Dhalla.
For more information, please contact AJCU’s Vice President for Federal Relations, Cynthia Littlefield: CyndyLit@aol.com.