Op-ed: A letter to the Utah delegation from the Peace and Justice Studies Committee at Utah Valley University

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Mayra Cedano attends a gathering of DACA supporters at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017. President Donald Trump is dismantling DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the government program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.
Cedano came to America through the DACA program when she was 11-years-old.

We are members of the Utah Valley University Executive Committee for the Peace and Justice Studies Program: a program committed to teaching and applying principles and practices leading to the just treatment of all human beings. We write this open letter to express our support for the letter of Sept. 6, 2017, signed by the presidents of the major institutions of higher education in Utah. We are deeply disturbed by the recent position taken by the president of the United States about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The actions of the president have placed many of our students in a position of damaging and cruel uncertainty in which their sense of identity and well-being are under attack. They are threatened by rejection by the nation they have come to love, serve and revere.

DACA students make major contributions to our classrooms, have become our friends and companions and demonstrate the promise of significant contributions and leadership in our communities. They are not lawbreakers, nor are they responsible for their lack of legal immigrant status. They are neither subversive nor terrorists. They are responsible citizens: learners, workers, educators, creators and leaders. They are well integrated into our schools, universities, churches and communities. They are an essential part of the richness of Utah’s population. We benefit culturally, socially and economically from their presence.

U.S. Catholic bishops characterize the president’s announcements on DACA as “reprehensible” and the president’s decision as “unacceptable.” The major Protestant denominations have expressed strong opposition to the actions of the president and are uniformly in favor of the Dream Act of 2017. Jewish and Muslim religious leaders are appalled by the presidential stance. In…

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