On Tuesday Nov. 12, students around the country gathered to stand in solidarity to defend DACA. DACA stands for deferred action for childhood arrivals and is currently a pressing issue and debate in politics at the moment. At Manhattan College, students and staff participated in a vigil held in Memorial Hall offering prayers and kind words in support of DACA. Students signed letters to be sent to their local legislators in support of DACA recipients.
Interviews compiled by Maria Thomas and Katie Heneghan, Asst. News Editor & Asst. Features Editor
Annabelle Favalle (Sophomore, Left)
Alana Pons (Sophomore, Right)
The Quadrangle: Why should students sign a letter to their administrators in support of DACA? What does defending DACA mean to you?
Alana Pons: I signed the letter because I think it’s important that we all stand in solidarity with the DACA recipients that even go to our school. Also as a Lasallian school, I think it’s also important that we recognize human dignity as one of the key values of our lives and what we bring into the world after we graduate.
Annabelle Favalle: After going on my LOVE trip to the border in El Paso, TX I realized the importance of being educated on these types of issues. I signed the letter because this is an issue that shouldn’t be ignored.
The Quadrangle: How does something like defending DACA fit in with Manhattan College’s Lasallian values?
President Brendan O’Donnell: We are always interested in doing what we can to speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. Giving the benefit of the doubt to those that are powerless, over those who have power, respectfully and with an open mind, and recognizing that there are circumstances where the law has to be enforced, but in this particular case it seems to me that we need to do a better job figuring out how you handle human being who, through no fault of their own, are in a precarious situation.
TQ: Did you sign a letter to your legislator?
BOD: As president I have signed a number of letters. There have been a number of efforts to get college and university presidents across the country to sign on to letters in support of DACA recipients and the continuance of the DACA program, so for example, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, which has about 200 members, I think almost all of them signed the letter.
The Quadrangle: Why do you think it is important for Manhattan College to defend DACA?
Samuel Almaras: DACA is a pretty heavy topic now, immigration is the craziest topic now. It is very prevalent, it is very recent, and it is something that is being fought at the moment. Not only that, but the location that we”re in — being in New York City, it is one of the most immigrant heavy areas, so it is very important for our school, based on the diversity, our demographic, and where we are.
TQ: Did you sign the letter to your legislator?
SA: Yes, I did it because I believe that we can push for a lot of things, but the only people that really can actually do these things are our legislators and the people that represent us, so if we bombard them with letters, maybe they’ll actually be inspired to do something with their lives.