President Donald Trump, who is visiting North Dakota later today to talk about tax reform, announced recently that he would be phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy implemented by executive order by the Obama administration. If you’re not up to speed on this issue, that policy is a de facto amnesty for illegal immigrant children brought into this country as minors by their parents.
Trump announced that the program would end in six months, and asked Congress to do something about it. One of his administration’s arguments in support of this policy is that Obama’s original order was unconstitutional. The executive branch doesn’t get to just pick and choose which laws of Congress it follows, after all. If that were the case, then the entire legislative process would be nothing more than a pretense.
Anyway, in Fargo the administration at North Dakota State University is expressing support for students impacted by the DACA recision. A SAB reader who is a student and employee at NDSU forwards this email which went out from Provost Beth Ingram today (click for a larger view):
“I’m a student and a part-time employee at NDSU, and this morning we received an e-mail regarding the DACA that I figured you’d have interest in,” my reader wrote to me. “Is this really necessary, or a fight worth fighting for Higher Ed? I feel it’s not their place to discuss this.”
From a practical standpoint, institutions like NDSU do probably need to figure out how they’re going to handle students who may end up having to leave the country because of this policy (though President Trump has said he may revisit this issue if Congress fails to act in some way). But this is something other than meat-and-potatoes administrative stuff.
The email mentions the APLU position on the DACA recision, and that position is explicitly political, as you can read here.
Is it appropriate for the administration at a public university like NDSU to take such an explicit position on a touch political topic? Remember, we aren’t talking about faculty members or administrators expressing private points of view. Or engaging in some sort of academic exercise.
This is the NDSU administration taking an official position as a taxpayer-owned organization.
The DACA debate is going to be a hot one. The folks at NDSU, at least in their official capacity, should butt out of the politics of it.