On the same day many undergraduate students began the academic year, a small group found themselves placed in immigration limbo.
William and Mary’s Board of Visitors showed support for the college’s undocumented students in a meeting Friday.
The Trump administration announced on Sept. 5 that it will unwind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allows young people brought into the country illegally as children to live in the country without fear of deportation. Former president Barack Obama created the policy in 2012 as a way to shield undocumented students, among other groups, from immediate deportation.
Congress will still have a chance to address the administration’s directive, meaning deportations may not happen for several months.
Twenty-three students enrolled at William and Mary are using DACA.
Students renew their status every two years. They are not eligible for federal or state financial aid.
“Let's do what's right — allow these young people to stay in the country they call home,” William and Mary president Reveley said in a statement on Sept. 5.
A resolution detailing the value of undocumented students to the William and Mary community passed the Board of Visitors unanimously on Friday.
Though the measure does nothing formally, board members thought it was important to show they had those students in mind.
“They deserve to be here as much as any other current student or recent alumnus,” said rector Todd Stottlemyer.
William and Mary president Taylor Reveley has said he supported the undocumented students in an announcement shortly after the end of the last presidential election cycle.
Last November, he and more than 300 other college presidents signed a statement in support of the program and the students who use it to attend college.
The latest data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services estimates just under 790,000 immigrants have used the program as of March 2017.
The federal government will continue to renew permits for the next six months. Congress has until March 2018 to create a legislative solution, according to a press release from the Department of Homeland Security.
“It has led to some stress and anxiety (among students),” said board member Lisa Roday. “There is still so much unknown that it’s all really up in the air.”
The college’s Board of Visitors agreed to continue the William and Mary Promise through 2024, meaning a tuition increase of up to 6.4 percent each year. But Once a student enters campus, they will pay the same amount in tuition for all four years. Other charges, like housing and fees, may change.
Since the inception of William and Mary Promise in 2013, the college has raised tuition each year but froze the amount that in-state students pay.
The budget shortfall many thought was coming to Virginia wasn’t as bad as once thought. Sam Jones, the college’s senior vice president for finance and administration, said the state ended with around $166 million in surplus money at the end of the fiscal year.
The board should not expect to receive much of the money, Jones said, since Gov. McAuliffe has plans to expand Medicaid and more before he leaves.
“Unfortunately, these dollars are pretty well dedicated, pretty quickly,” said Jones.
With a new governor comes other circumstances, and the school will adjust as needed, Jones said.
“This is his outgoing budget,” Jones said. “He brings up whatever he brings up, then whoever replaces him — that’s still to be decided.”
Wright can be reached by phone at 757-345-2343.