An Ontario college is stepping up for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who might be affected by President Donald Trump's recent decision to end a program designed to protect them.
Huron University College, an affiliate of Western University in London, Ont. is offering a new $60,000 scholarship for any recipient of the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to study and live in Canada.
The school is offering one $60,000 scholarship to any current or prospective post-secondary student in the U.S. who might be affected by Trump's decision.
The move comes after the White House announced it would be scrapping the program and giving Congress six months to come up with legislation to replace it.
Barry Craig, the college's principal, told HuffPost Canada he had been planning this well before U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made his slightly misleading DACA announcement on Tuesday.
"Canada is a safe, welcoming place and...Huron is a community that welcomes people from all cultures and backgrounds and we would love to have them contribute to the diversity of this community," he said.
Craig said the school wanted to do more than just issue an official statement opposing Trump's decision.
"They're going to be in a state of terrible anxiety now. They don't know if they're going to be deported in six months," he said. "So we wanted to publically object and then wanted to do something concrete."
"I think any citizen seeing an injustice anywhere in the world can speak out against that."Barry Craig, Huron University College President
The DACA program was established in 2012 by former president Barack Obama to give certain undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation, as well as a work permit.
One of the requirements of being a DACA recipient includes either being enrolled in school or having a high school diploma.
Craig said that "we understand that, as Canadians, we have no right to interfere in American politics or law. But I think any citizen seeing an injustice anywhere in the world can speak out against that."
His decision to offer the scholarship was reinforced after reading a Chronicle For Higher Education article that mentioned university groups pleading with Trump and Congress to reconsider the impact their DACA decision.
"We're talking about young people, many of whom were post-secondary or considering it, who'd been told that it's all right to be here and all right to go to school only to have the rug pulled out from underneath them."
On Thursday, Trump tweeted that DACA recipients during shouldn't be scared during the next six months.
For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2017
But after that, if Congress doesn't act, DACA recipients could be out of luck.
Craig hopes Congress eventually works out an immigration bill, but he also wants other Canadian schools to step up for immigrants who could be affected in the meantime.
"I expect other Canadian universities will follow suit," he said. "When the travel ban was announced last winter, eight universities made announcements so I suspect other universities will be doing something now."
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