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UIndy Conversations about Immigration


  • University of Indianapolis

Though David Root, a professor of history and political science at the University of Indianapolis, says he believes President Trump knows that it is almost impossible to repeal all of former President Obama’s over 200 executive orders, fear is still present for many people that he will repeal the ones they rely on.

One of Obama’s executive orders is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In short, DACA allows some people who came to this country as children to remain here despite not having come to the country legally. Essentially, DACA makes young people who are in the country illegally a very low priority for law enforcement and ICE officials. Trump has not specifically threatened specifically to repeal DACA, but the fact that one of his campaign promises was to repeal every executive order Obama made has many

“If [Trump] fulfills his campaign promise, hundreds of thousands of young people who have spent most of their lives in the united states would be dismissed from work, would likely have to leave school and ultimately could be deported,” Mimi Chase, the International Services Director at UIndy, says.

In a campus talk on February 16, representatives from UIndy spoke to gathered students and faculty about what DACA is, how it has affected students, the ethics of executive orders and the history of presidential executive orders.

“Today was just an opening of the conversation,” Chase says. “We hoped members of our community would gain an understanding of the complexities surrounding the executive  order (DACA) and its potential revocation.” 

Boxes of pizza and brownies, among other food items, greeted those interested and gathered for the conversation. Inside, about 50 people gathered for the hour-long meeting, where speakers included the university’s president, two professors, the international services director and a student.

Robert Manuel, the president of UIndy, welcomed those gathered.

“We have and always will be as a university committed to diversity, unity and inclusivity,” he told those gathered.

Manuel assured students that one of the topics at the university’s board meeting next week, will be how the university will respond to the policies Trump has planned and imposed.

 “We need to be very intentional in how we go about this as an institution,” Manuel continued. He also made it clear that the university stands in support of DACA.

Chase’s part of the talk was about what DACA actually is. Signed in 2012, she said, DACA was one of Obama’s executive orders. 

“It is a conditional and temporary reprieve from deportation or individuals who were brought into the US without proper documentation when they were children as long as they meet very strict requirements,” she told those gathered at the conversation. To qualify for DACA, she continued, a person must identify themselves as undocumented and provide a lot of information to the government.

“Approval is not guaranteed,” Chase said in her speech, “and denial may result in deportation.” 

Chase says UIndy is one of 600 colleges and universities nationwide that signed a petition to protect DACA.

There are about 9,500 people in Indiana who have DACA status, and Indiana is one of the states that allows a person with DACA status to obtain either a driver’s license or state ID.

One of those people is Rolando Mendoza, who is an undocumented student at UIndy. The senior biology and pre-optometry major spoke about DACA’s effects on his life, both the good and the bad, and encouraged those gathered to learn more about the executive order. 

In talking about the ethics of DACA and its threat of being repealed, Alida Liberman, a professor of philosophy at UIndy, mentioned the importance of compassion.

“Is it more important that we ensure that everybody gets what they need even if occasionally they get what they don't deserve or is it more important that we make sure everybody gets what they deserve even if some people don't get what they need in doing that?” she asked the gathered audience.

Chase says the purpose of these talks, another of which is scheduled for March 8, is to get input from everyone at the university. 

“We have already taken a stand in requesting the protection of DACA through the Office of the President,” she says. “We would like to facilitate conversations for our community so that we can better understand one another and learn how we can best support our own convictions on a personal level as well as within the campus community.”

The next talk at UIndy, which is set to take place on Tuesday, March 7, will discuss sanctuary campuses. The talk will be at noon in UIndy Hall B and C. Lunch will be provided.


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