Students at Georgetown University are protesting against the school’s choice of commencement speaker because he enforced the law by deporting illegal immigrants.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is scheduled to deliver the commencement address May 21 to graduates of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. Some student activists are dismayed by Johnson’s selection, because his role as secretary places him in charge of monitoring the country’s borders and deporting illegal immigrants.
“The DHS, under the supervision of Johnson, has deported millions of people and has separated them from their families,” critics say in an event page created on Facebook. Protesters organized by UndocuHoya, a group that advocates for illegal immigrants on campus, assembled to deliver a letter of protest to Georgetown administrators Monday afternoon.
The letter, also published on Medium, suggests that Johnson’s speech would make Georgetown an unsafe place for illegal immigrants.
“Immigrant students and their families demand and deserve to feel safe and respected during their Commencement ceremony,” the letter says. “It is unacceptable to force any graduating students to receive their diploma from an individual who has the power to destroy their families. As alumni, we urge you to rescind Secretary Johnson’s Commencement invitation and take meaningful action to ensure immigrant students and their families feel safe and welcome.”
Georgetown sophomore Austin Rose said on the Facebook event page that it was unacceptable to defend Johnson on the grounds that he was merely “doing his job” by enforcing existing U.S. law.
“Secretary Johnson has the discretion and legal authority, as head of DHS, to halt deportations and significantly change border policy. But he doesn’t,” Rose said.
In addition to the letter delivered to Georgetown administrators, opponents of Johnson have also created a Change.org petition in an effort to put pressure on the school. So far, though, it only has a small number of signatures.
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