‘More questions than answers’: Md. campuses react to decision ending DACA program

WASHINGTON – After President Donald Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, students and administrators at Maryland colleges and universities are scrambling for answers, while the presidents of two schools are pledging support for their students.

The DACA program gave nearly 800,000 young people who were brought into the country illegally as children a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Tuesday that the program was “an unconstitutional exercise of authority” and “is being rescinded.”

Students have been calling Montgomery College’s administrative offices, asking what they should do. President DeRionne Pollard said the college will continue to find ways to support those students as the plan to dismantle DACA moves forward.

Pollard said the college has 300 students who are in the DACA program, and another 250 students who have temporary protected status. After hearing the announcement by the Trump Administration on its plans for DACA, she said, “We’ve been left with more questions than answers.”

“We have yet to receive guidelines and particularly information that can help direct students effectively through this process,” Pollard said.

Pollard says the school’s campuses in Germantown, Rockville and Silver Spring enroll students from up to 160 nations. “Montgomery College recognizes the value that they bring to us. We know that many of our students are committed to giving back to the communities in which they have grown up.”

Pollard credits the college’s board for what she called a bold statement declaring support for DACA students. “And that’s what we will continue to do as a college.”

At the University of Maryland, President Wallace D. Loh said in a statement that “this decision is antithetical to the core values and missions of the University of Maryland and higher education generally.”

There are about 100 DACA students on the College Park campus, according to university officials. Loh said “UMD will continue to identify all avenues for offering support” to DACA students, and explained that information would be updated on the university’s website.

Loh concluded his statement by writing, “We are in this together. We are all Dreamers.” 

According to information from Montgomery College, up to 15,000 people in Maryland qualify for protections under DACA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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