A Reflection on the DACA Issue
Dear Hope Community,
Earlier this week, we learned that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program has been rescinded. Congress now has six months to take action on this program, which provided protection to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. In recent days, some of you have talked to me about your fear, anxiety, sadness and confusion over what the DACA rescission may mean for our country, our local community and our own campus.
This issue strikes a chord with us, for we are, after all, members of a college community that serves young people. It is estimated that nearly 10,000 DACA "Dreamers" graduate from U.S. colleges every year. In the work we do daily, we serve young people similarly committed to earning a college degree. As we help prepare students for their future, we, too, engage the will of passionate young people to discern their calling, pursue a meaningful career, and develop leadership skills in order to strengthen their communities, neighborhoods, churches and businesses as well as the country they call home.
As a Christian community, we are inspired by Jesus' words from the Gospel of Matthew: "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me." Here at our Christ-centered campus, "welcoming the stranger" has special significance. More than 150 years ago, Hope was founded by Dutch immigrants, and not long after, the college graduated its first class, which included among its six graduates two Japanese exchange students. You could say it's part of the Hope fabric to invite and welcome each person as we would do so for Christ.
I encourage you to join me in praying for and standing by individuals and families affected by the uncertainty of the DACA issue. Since becoming president, I have spoken about the five virtues of public discourse at Hope College: Humility to Listen; Hospitality to Welcome; Patience to Understand; Courage to Challenge; and Honesty to Speak the Truth in Love. Together, let us draw on these virtues as we consider the impact on the 800,000 young people whose drive and determination resonate with so many members of our own campus community.
Tomorrow, we will open our campus to the local community as we co-host Community Day with the City of Holland. We will welcome hundreds of neighbors, sharing with them a spirit of hospitality that has defined Hope College since its inception. I invite you to take part in this event, now in its 52nd year, as we celebrate the rich diversity of our campus and our hometown.
Spera in Deo,