Officials offer legal aid to DACA students as immigrant protections are ended

University President Thomas LeBlanc condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to end protections for young undocumented immigrants Tuesday saying in a release that the decision was “not in the interest of GW.”

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, enacted under the Obama administration, allows undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as children – called “Dreamers” – to be temporarily protected from deportation and legally allowed to work in the United States.

“GW is a better institution because of its ability to admit talented, gifted and passionate students without regard to national origin or ethnicity and without requiring residents of the United States to provide documentation,” LeBlanc said in the release. “We know that DACA has allowed some students who immigrated to the United States as children to thrive in their educational and extracurricular endeavors on campus.”

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that DACA would be terminated with a six-month delay to give Congress time to pass a potential replacement.

Officials are monitoring developments surrounding the program’s end and “how the federal policy change could impact the University community,” according to the release.

The University is bringing in lawyers from an outside immigration firm, McCandlish Holton, to answer impacted students initial questions and provide free legal advice. The law school’s immigration clinic also provides assistance to students.

Officials don’t require applicants to provide proof of citizenship to apply to GW and pledged that policy would continue after the program is ended.

“We value the contributions that all of our students bring to our campus community,” LeBlanc said in the release. “Policies that hinder our ability to attract and educate the best and the brightest are not in the interest of GW or the nation’s higher education system.”

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