The Saint Anselm Crier

DiSalvo and Levesque respond to Trump’s controversial DACA repeal

Karoline Leavitte, Crier Staff

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A recent controversy regarding President Trump’s administration could potentially impact the lives and futures of Saint Anselm’s very own students.

In early September, the Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions, announced the administration would dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. More commonly referred to as DACA; the Obama-era bill protects young, undocumented immigrants brought illegally to the United States by their parents. Many of those young people are now students, enrolled at colleges and universities from coast to coast. The rollback of DACA would mean the deportation of them all. It would also mean the end of their education here in the U.S.

In recognizing that reality, during his State of the College address in early September, President DiSalvo vowed that Saint Anselm would fully support any student who may be affected by the potential repeal of DACA. And while President Trump has most recently backtracked his claim to deport thousands of “dreamers,” DiSalvo and his team are still providing students with resources to deal with this ongoing issue.

It is unknown to the Crier if, and how many, Saint Anselm students are undocumented immigrants who are currently protected by DACA. Nevertheless, President DiSalvo, along with his Chief of Staff Neil Levesque, and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Ande Diaz, wasted no time planning their first initiative to help students anyway.

“Whether there are or are not students on campus affected by DACA, there could be. Therefore, the President decided to offer and work on a series of initiatives that would help students who may or may not be affected by DACA learn and start the conversation regarding immigration and citizenship,” Levesque stated to the Crier last week.

In order to facilitate those necessary conversations here on the Hilltop, DiSalvo and Levesque contacted caseworks who practice immigration law. Staff from the offices of Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Senator Maggie Hassan were at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on September 25th and 29th to privately meet with students.

The caseworkers served as helpful resources to vital information, as the laws regarding the president’s proposal to end DACA are quite complicated. Levesque said, “The problem with the President’s recent decision on DACA is that it opens up a whole range of unanswered questions for human beings who have lived in this country for many, many years. So, what you have with a human being affected by DACA is a person who wants to abide by the law, but at this point, it is so ambiguous, it creates great anxiety and fear.”

It is those fears which Dr. DiSalvo and his team hope to alleviate from the minds and hearts of students. In speaking of his counterpart, Levesque added, “Dr. DiSalvo has decided to open up and extend as many resources as possible here that may be utilized or even a friend or family member that might help answer some questions and help start the process towards citizenship.”

The administration is also interested in extending its resources to other students in the area. Levesque said they do have plans to reach out to other colleges in New Hampshire, such as UNH.

Yet their ultimate goal remains clear: to help any Anselmian during this time by “providing opportunities for frank, open conversations,” about an issue that for some, could greatly impact the rest of their lives.

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DiSalvo and Levesque respond to Trump’s controversial DACA repeal