Message from Dean Jack Knott: The Decision to End DACA

September 5, 2017

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty:

The President’s decision today to end DACA, the program that has provided deferment from deportation to nearly 750,000 young undocumented immigrants, is one that comes after strong dissent from business, academic, and civic leaders and even leading members of his own party.

The decision, announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, ends the program effective March 5, 2018. Until then, no new applications will be accepted; the decision does not address how those with the two-year deferments granted under the program that expire before the March 2018 date will be treated.

Both the president and Sessions called upon Congress to address the issue and enact legislation that could serve as a replacement for the program. It is encouraging that House leaders have expressed sympathy for those covered under DACA, which could point to a potential way forward that provides an equitable and humane approach to the issue. However, given the often-acrimonious debate around immigration policy over the past few years, it may be difficult for Congress to come to some resolution.

As we consider the implications of this decision and the unresolved issues around immigration policy, I am reminded again of our School’s mission to improve the quality of life for people and their communities. One of the basic tenets of our curriculum is that effective policy always advances the public good and takes into account the impact on those most affected. I am profoundly aware this is a policy issue that is, at heart, one with an immeasurable impact on people and their families.

The President’s decision is one that has clear ramifications for a number of our students and their families, and I want to reiterate our deep concern for their welfare and circumstances. If you have personal concerns around this issue, please feel free to share those concerns directly by email with me (, Professor LaVonna Lewis (, or Associate Dean Carol Rush ( Your contact will be held in confidence, and we will help direct you to resources that can be most helpful to your specific needs.

I would also like to invite all of you to an open conversation on the President’s decision on DACA on Thursday, September 7, from 3:00-4:00 pm in RGL 101. We will provide food, drink and space to share concerns and discuss ways to move forward.

As you know, USC President Nikias issued a strongly worded statement yesterday in support of those affected by this ruling. And, the University is committed to efforts to support members of the University community who are in engaged in the citizen naturalization process. I urge those of you who may be affected to take advantage of the university-wide programs offered.

As a School and University, we strongly believe it is our duty to take civic leadership around issues that affect our community. The Provost has established a deans’ steering committee to create a plan for our University to assume national academic leadership on the immigration and immigrant integration; I look forward to taking an active role in that effort, working to promulgate policies that best serve our community and our country.


Jack H. Knott