UF President Kent Fuchs has joined more than 350 college and university presidents in signing a statement supporting a program that shields those brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation.
Fuchs signed the statement about a week ago after receiving an email from the president of the Association of American Universities, he said.
The email told college and university presidents about the statement circulating that said the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is worth keeping.
University of Central Florida President John Hitt, Florida International University President Mark B. Rosenberg and University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft also signed the statement.
Fuchs said he does not know how many students at UF might have benefited from DACA, but he wanted them and others to know UF welcomes students from all backgrounds.
“We’re not making a statement about doing anything that’s against the law,” he said. “We’re simply saying this is a policy that’s beneficial to the nation.”
Anaeva Nelsas, a UF biology freshman, said comments from President-elect Donald Trump about deporting undocumented immigrants have scared students who have been affected by DACA.
Nelsas was brought from Venezuela by her parents when she was 6 years old, the 18-year-old said. She didn’t learn she was brought illegally until she was 16.
Seeing Fuchs’ statement, she said, makes her feel supported at UF.
“It shows support in a time where we feel very scared and we feel a lack of support,” she said.