UA president calls for action on DACA ahead of regents meeting in Juneau

Jim Johnsen, UA President candidate

Jim Johnsen attends a meet and greet in Juneau on July 7, 2015. He was a candidate for University of Alaska president at the time. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Earlier this week, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen wrote Alaska’s congressional delegation urging it to quickly resolve the Trump administration’s directive to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

The Obama-era immigration policy protected certain undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. Alaska has 138 DACA recipients, according to the Center for American Progress.

Johnsen said in his letter that failing to resolve the issue through congressional action could prevent students from fulfilling their academic and professional goals and would ultimately hurt the state’s economy.

The letter comes as the University of Alaska Board of Regents is meeting this Thursday and Friday at the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. It’s unclear if it plans to address the DACA issue.

The regents will discuss a plan to create a College of Education at the Juneau campus, a proposal meant to respond to Alaska’s teacher shortage by filling those vacancies with UA graduates.

Regents will also hear updates on Strategic Pathways, a plan to cut costs throughout the university system by consolidating academic programs, and campus efforts to improve the handling of sexual discrimination and assault cases in light of a Title IX investigation by the Department of Education.

The regents livestream their meetings at alaska.edu.

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