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On Dec. 13, the Office of Communications announced that President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 had joined over two dozen university presidents from campuses across the nation to found the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. According to their mission statement, this alliance is “dedicated to increasing public understanding” about the impact immigration policies have on students, their campuses, and their communities. The group also pledged to support policies the create and sustain a “welcoming environment” for immigrant, undocumented, and international students on American campuses. 

The first item on the Alliance’s agenda: a call for a legislative solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and other Dreamers. A statement on the Alliance’s website outlining the group’s founding beliefs asserts that America is a nation of immigrants and calls undocumented students “members of our communities deserving of dignity, respect and the opportunity to realize their full human potential.”

The Presidents’ Alliance is the latest component of Eisgruber’s ongoing support of DACA. On Nov. 3, the University launched a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s ending of the DACA program, filing a joint complaint in federal court in Washington, D.C., alongside Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez ’18 and Microsoft.

The Alliance also names international students as vital members of our educational research environments and hopes to combat the decline in number of international students attending American universities since President Trump’s election. 

The Alliance’s member presidents promise to work together to achieve three objectives. First, to educate policymakers and the public about the value and contributions of international and immigrant students and scholars to the United States, its campuses, and its communities. Second, to improve how member presidents support international and immigrant students on their campuses, including by creating an informational network to share and promote best practices. Finally, to support immigration policies that “honor” their institutions’ values and commitments to their students and press for re-examination of those that do not.

“Throughout its history, the United States has benefited from the abilities, creativity and drive of immigrants from throughout the world,” Eisgruber said in a Dec. 13 statement. “Immigration has helped to define our national identity and our constitutional principles, and it has enhanced the quality of students, faculty and staff at our colleges and universities.” 

Eisgruber added that, as the son of a refugee and an international student, immigration was a “deeply personal” subject for him. 

He concluded by stating, “I am grateful that the United States enabled my family to make its home here, and I am proud to join a coalition dedicated to expanding opportunity for new generations of people who want to contribute their talents and energy to our country and share in its promise of freedom.”

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