USF president joins hundreds of college leaders in signing pro-DACA open letter

USF System President Judy Genshaft
USF System President Judy Genshaft
Published Nov. 29, 2016

President Judy Genshaft of the University of South Florida has joined a long list of college presidents in signing an open letter urging support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

More than 330 presidents have signed the letter calling DACA "a moral imperative and a national necessity," including several Florida leaders.

President-elect Donald Trump has made no secret of his plan to scrap the program, which offers protections to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the U.S. without authorization as children.

President Barack Obama signed the executive action in 2012, granting renewable work permits and protection from deportation to certain children who arrived after 2007 at age 16 or younger. Many of those children now attend public colleges and universities.

Federal data show more than 29,000 individual DACA approvals as of June for people who call Florida home. More than 740,000 immigrants have been approved nationwide.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to "immediately terminate" DACA and similar programs, railing against an approach to immigration he characterizes as out of control. He has also championed deportation efforts.

The letter, spearheaded by the president of Pomona College in Claremont, Ca., urges those in religious, business, civic and non-profit sectors to voice their support for the program.

"America needs talent – and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community," it reads. "They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future."

Participating college presidents span both public and private institutions across the country. Four public university leaders in Florida were represented Monday: USF, the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida and Florida International University. See the full list and letter here.