The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College stands firmly with Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab in support of our extraordinary DACA students. Every day, across our school community, we demonstrate a deep and abiding commitment to these talented, motivated, and resilient individuals. We are determined to support our DACA students in every way we can, and to ensure that they become the professional social workers they dream to be in the society they call home – students who, in the words of President Raab, “flourish in their studies and launch themselves into careers that benefit our city, our state and our nation.”
Mary M. Cavanaugh, PhD
Statement from Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab on Dreamer Legislation
We want to assure our DACA students that we are determined to be a source of comfort and support to the nearly 650 Dreamers who are now enrolled at Hunter College. We regularly witness the great challenges these students face and the extraordinary courage and determination with which they meet them. And we see first-hand how, when they are given the opportunity, they flourish in their studies and launch themselves into careers that benefit our city, our state and our nation.
We will continue to provide support, guidance, and financial assistance where possible to our Dreamers. Due to the generous support of the Grove Fund, Hunter College is one of a limited number of academic institutions providing some financial assistance to Dreamers. We are also among the largest colleges partnering with TheDream.US to provide Dreamers with the opportunity to get a college education. DACA students benefiting from these programs have already been informed that their financial assistance will not be impacted.
It is imperative now for Congress to develop a sensible, compassionate policy to give legal status to the nation’s 800,000 DACA young people. All New Yorkers are counting on our elected representatives – led by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand as well as our district’s own Representative Carolyn Maloney- to be in the forefront of this urgent legislative issue. We join with Governor Andrew Cuomo in urging them to pass legislation quickly to protect our Dreamers.
There are thousands of determined Dreamers with moving stories who have come out of our college and schools all across America. At our most recent graduation in May, we celebrated four Dreamers who excelled academically and who are determined to give back to the only homeland they have ever really known.
One came from South Korea at age 9 knowing no English, and went on to become an honors student and set records in track and field. Her undocumented status prevented her from joining the U.S. Junior Olympic team, but far from being discouraged she excelled as a chemistry major at Hunter with a 3.8 GPA. Her plans call for doing clinical research at Stanford Medical School. She wishes to apply to medical school; however, her undocumented status will limit the number of schools this accomplished graduate can apply to and her ability to secure financial assistance.
Another was brought to America from Peru at 11. She dreamt of a career in medicine, but found it impossible to even volunteer at a hospital without a Social Security number. Finally, thanks to DACA, she was able to intern at Elmhurst Hospital. She graduated with a 3.4 GPA and will work as a medical scribe.
Yet another remembers holding his mom’s hand at age 3 as they crossed the border from Mexico. He struggled in school, but one morning in the guidance counselor’s office when he was being threatened with expulsion, he looked at the tears in his mother’s eyes and determined to make all her sacrifices worth it. He stayed in school, worked to save money, and made it to Hunter, where he graduated with a 3.6 GPA in psychology. He intends to get his masters in counseling to help others the same way his guidance counselor helped him.
The fourth Dreamer was just 8 when she was brought to America from the Dominican Republic. She became not only the first in her family to graduate from college, but joined her sister in the family’s first generation to graduate from high school. She earned a 3.8 GPA at Hunter while serving as an advocate for other Dreamers and helping high school students get into college. She was awarded a prestigious post-graduate fellowship at Hunter College and will go on to get a Ph.D. in education policy to continue advocating for the underserved.
These four stories speak volumes about the sacrifices Dreamers are making so they can contribute to America. Congress should recognize and honor their achievements by legalizing their status. Let us always remember that no civilized nation criminalizes the conduct of innocent children.
Click here to read the statement from Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab on Dreamer Legislation on Hunter College’s website.