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President Díaz-Herrera responds to DACA decision

Like many in the Keuka College community, I was dismayed and disappointed to hear the news that the Trump Administration has set the wheels in motion to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

As an institution that counts diversity, integrity and global perspective among its core values, the College rejects in no uncertain terms efforts to displace some 800,000 young people from the only home they have ever known.

But the door is not yet closed. Congress still has six months in which to act. I have written our two U.S. senators and local congressional representative, urging them to move decisively on this important issue.

For those who might wish to do the same, their addresses, along with my letter, appear below.

Sen. Charles Schumer

322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Rep. Tom Reed

2437 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand, and Rep. Reed:

I write to you on a matter of decency, principle and great urgency: the pressing need to respond to the Trump Administration’s repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Only strong, bipartisan legislation can assure that hundreds of thousands of young people living, learning and working in the United States today will not be turned away from the only home they’ve ever known.

I write, also, as a kindred spirit of those who want nothing more than to prosper in their adopted homeland. I too have prospered in my adopted homeland of the United States after having been born and raised in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

I know the freedoms, the mobility, the unparalleled opportunities America affords. I know what they have meant to me, and I can well imagine what they mean to the 800,000 so-called Dreamers who were brought to this country solely because their parents thought it was their last, best hope for a better life.

Now, you’re their last, best hope.

Without swift, strong legislation, we face the prospect of seeing the eventual deportation of hundreds of thousands of young people who, as former President Obama rightly pointed out, “are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us."

There are a number of legislative remedies, as you well know. Both the DREAM Act (which would allow Dreamers to pursue college degrees, serve in our military, or work toward a path to citizenship) and the BRIDGE Act (which would provide provisional but much-needed protections to Dreamers) have been reintroduced in your chamber.

I know from your public comments that you support congressional action.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, for example, has asserted that “America does not merely tolerate immigration – we thrive on it.” I couldn’t agree more.

And Sen. Charles Schumer accurately warns that “the human and economic toll of rescinding DACA will be far reaching.”

Finally, Rep. Tom Reed pledged to “stand with the children who came here through no fault of their own,” adding, “it’s incumbent on Congress to deal with this issue.”

I heartily concur. That’s why I ask all of you: Please commit to passage of one of these vital bills. Please commit to showing hundreds of thousands of young people what’s best about our nation: our heart, our diversity, and our inclusiveness.

Let’s not rescind that promise – the promise of a better life for young immigrants who are already contributing to our economy, our prosperity, and our future.

Please, show the Dreamers – and all dreamers worldwide that look to America as a land of true promise and opportunity – that we do not turn our backs on hard-working, freedom-loving peoples.

I thank you for your attention and, more importantly, your action.

Cordially yours,

Prof. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, Ph.D.


President

About the Author

jdiazh's picture

Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera became the 19th president of Keuka College July 1, 2011. He came to Keuka from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where he served as dean of the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences and professor. Formerly, Díaz-Herrera was professor and department head of computer science and Yamacraw project director at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga. and member of the executive committee in the Georgia Tech-led Yamacraw project. He was a senior member of the technical staff at Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute, taught in the Master of Software Engineering program, and conducted research in product line engineering. In addition, Díaz-Herrera served as chair of the first-in-the-U.S. software engineering department at Monmouth (N.J.) University and on the computer science faculties at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and SUNY Binghamton. He also taught at the Universidad Centro-Occidental and was senior software engineer and department head at Empresa Regional de Computación, both in Venezuela. He has consulted for a number of firms and government agencies including the New York Stock Exchange (SIAC), MITRE Corp., Institute for Defense Analysis, General Electric, Singer-Link, TRW, EG&G, and IBM, among others. He has also provided professional expertise to international organizations including the European Software Institute, Australian Defense Science and Technology Office, Kyoto Computing Gaikum, Kuwait University, Cairo University, and Malaysia University of Technology. Díaz-Herrera has authored more than 90 publications and is in his third, three-year term of the IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Visitor Program. He was a leading writer of the Software Engineering Professional Examination, and co-editor of the Software Engineering volume of the IEEE-CS/ACM Computing Curricula project. He is also an active member of the Deans group of the Computer Research Association in Washington, D.C. Díaz-Herrera serves on numerous boards, including the New York State Universal Broadband Council Digital Literacy Committee, the Strong National Museum of Play (Rochester) Board of Trustees, and Gallaudet University (Washington, D.C.) Board of Trustees. He was co-chair of the Rochester Mayor's Office IT Steering Committee in 2005-06 and a member of the Puerto Rican Youth Development Center (Rochester) Board of Trustees in 2003-04. He also served three years in the National Science Foundation CISE Advisory Committee, and three years in Carnegie Mellon's SEI Technical Advisory Group in Pittsburgh, Pa. Díaz-Herrera completed his undergraduate education in Venezuela and holds a master's degree and doctorate in computing studies from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. He earned a graduate certificate (management leadership in education) from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. He plays the South American folk harp and is learning the pedal harp from Dr. Nan Gallo-Richmond of the Eastman Community School.

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