Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Letter of Support

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As the House of Representatives begins debate on immigration reform,  93 Catholic university presidents were joined by academics in sending the following letter on July 18, 2013, to every Catholic member of the House of Representatives, including House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Dear Representative:

As educators preparing the next generation of American leaders to serve the common good, we are deeply engaged in the current debate over immigration reform.

Catholic colleges and universities have a proud history of providing opportunities to immigrants who enrich our nation with creativity, hard work and public service. Together we represent universities that educate more than 290,000 students. Leaders on Catholic campuses advocated for the DREAM Act, and we stand with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in urging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a road to earned citizenship. Our broken immigration system, which tears parents from children, traps aspiring Americans in the shadows and undermines the best values of this nation, is morally indefensible.

We hope that as you face intense political pressure from powerful interest groups, you will draw wisdom and moral courage from our shared faith tradition. Catholic teaching values the human dignity and worth of all immigrants, regardless of legal status. We remind you that no human being made in the image of God is illegal. The Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church warns against the exploitation of immigrant workers and says “immigrants are to be received as persons and helped, together with their families, to become a part of societal life.” We are part of an immigrant church in an immigrant nation.

As Catholics engaged in public service, you have a serious responsibility to consider the moral dimensions of policy decisions. Our immigration system is so deeply flawed, and in such urgent need of repair, that inaction is unacceptable. As Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, said last month:

“Each day in our parishes, social service programs, hospitals, and schools we witness the human consequences of a broken immigration system. Families are separated, migrant workers are exploited, and our fellow human beings die in the desert. Without positive change to our immigration laws, we cannot help our brothers and sisters. Simply put, the status quo is morally unacceptable. This suffering must end.”

You face a complex issue that defies easy solutions and narrow partisan agendas. The United States is a nation of laws. It is also a nation built by immigrants. Our faith tradition rejects false choices between freedom and responsibility, individual rights and collective obligations. We urge you to reject the false choices and divisive rhetoric that have too often characterized this debate. Protecting our borders and creating an earned path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in this country are not competing interests.

Please be assured of our prayers as you put prudence, human dignity and the common good at the center of your deliberations.


Thomas F. Flynn
President, Alvernia University
Reading, Pennsylvania

Mary J. Meehan
President, Alverno College
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Michael Galligan-Stierle
President, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities
Washington, District of Columbia

Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J.
President, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
Washington, District of Columbia

Francesco C. Cesareo
President, Assumption College
Worcester, Massachusetts

Sr. Linda Bevilacqua, O.P.
President, Barry University
Miami Shores, Florida

Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J.
President, Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Beverly A. Wharton
President, Briar Cliff University
Sioux City, Iowa

Deb Takes
Interim President, Cabrini College
Radnor, Pennsylvania

Sr. Nancy H. Blattner, O.P.A.
President, Caldwell College
Caldwell, New Jersey

John J. Hurley
President, Canisius College
Buffalo, New York

James P. Loftus
President, Cardinal Stritch University
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Suzanne K. Mellon
President, Carlow University
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

John H. Garvey
President, The Catholic University of America
Washington, District of Columbia

Sr. Joanne M. Burrows, S.C.
President, Clarke University
Dubuque, Iowa

Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.
President, College of the Holy Cross
Worcester, Massachusetts

Sr. Maryanne Stevens, R.S.M.
President, College of St. Mary
Omaha, Nebraska

Tony Aretz
President, College of Mount St. Joseph
Cincinnati, Ohio

Moya K. Dittmeier
Executive Director, Conference for Mercy Higher Education
Silver Spring, Maryland

Rev. Timothy R. Lannon, S.J.
President, Creighton University
Omaha, Nebraska

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.
President, DePaul University
Chicago, Illinois

Rev. Bernard F. O’Connor, O.S.F.S.
President, DeSales University
Center Valley, Pennsylvania

Rev. Timothy A. Lenchak, S.V.D.
President, Divine Word College
Epworth, Iowa

Charles J. Dougherty
President, Duquesne University
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Rev. Jeff von Arx, S.J.
President, Fairfield University
Fairfield, Connecticut

Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J.
President, Fordham University
Bronx, New York

Keith Taylor
President, Gannon University
Erie, Pennsylvania

John J. DeGioia
President, Georgetown University
Washington, District of Columbia

Sr. Rosemary E. Jeffries, R.S.M.
President, Georgian Court University
Lakewood, New Jersey

Thayne M. McCulloh
President, Gonzaga University
Spokane, Washington

Kathleen Owens
President, Gwynedd-Mercy College
Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania

Br. John Rhodes Paige, C.S.C.
President, Holy Cross College
Notre Dame, Indiana

Sr. Francesca Onley, C.S.F.N.
President, Holy Family University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Joseph E. Nyre
President, Iona College
New Rochelle, New York

Rev. Robert L. Niehoff, S.J.
President, John Carroll University
University Heights, Ohio

Sr. Candace Introcaso, C.D.P.
President, LaRoche College
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Br. Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C.
President, La Salle University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Fred Pestello
President, Le Moyne College
Syracuse, New York

James E. Collins
President, Loras College
Dubuque, Iowa

David J. Livingston
President, Lourdes University
Sylvania, Ohio

David W. Burcham
President, Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, California

Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.
President, Loyola University Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J.
President, Loyola University New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana

Sr. Mary Cecilia Jurasinski, O.S.B.M.
President, Manor College
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania

Lea Johnson
President, Maria College
Albany, New York

Denise A. Hammon
President, Marian Court College
Swampscott, Massachusetts

Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
President, Marquette University
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

David J. Fike
President, Marygrove College
Detroit, Michigan

Sr. Anne Munley, I.H.M.
President, Marywood University
Scranton, Pennsylvania

Barbara Q. Decker
President, Mercy College of Health Sciences
Des Moines, Iowa

John F. Hayward
President, Mercy College of Ohio
Toledo, Ohio

Thomas J. Gamble
President, Mercyhurst University
Erie, Pennsylvania

Dr. Arturo Chávez
President, Mexican American Catholic College
San Antonio, Texas

Thomas J. Botzman
President, Misericordia University
Dallas, Pennsylvania

Thomas P. Foley
President, Mount Aloysius College
Cresson, Pennsylvania

Ann Schiele
President and Dean, Mount Carmel College of the Nursing
Columbus, Ohio

Eileen Schwalbach
President, Mount Mary University
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Norm Nielsen
Interim President, Mount Mercy University
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Ann McElaney-Johnson
President, Mount St. Mary’s College
Los Angeles, California

Thomas H. Powell
President, Mount St. Mary’s University
Emmitsburg, Maryland

Rosalie M. Mirenda
President, Neumann University
Aston, Pennsylvania

Peter Cimbolic
President, Ohio Dominican University
Columbus, Ohio

Rev. John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J.
President, Regis University
Denver, Colorado

Amb. Thomas Patrick Melady
President Emeritus, Sacred Heart University, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (Ret.)
Fairfield, Connecticut

Sr. Andrea J. Lee, I.H.M.
President, St. Catherine University
St. Paul, Minnesota

George E. Martin
President, St. Edward’s University
Austin, Texas

James S. Dlugos
President, St. Joseph’s College
Standish, Maine

Rev. C. Kevin Gillespie, S.J.
President, St. Joseph’s University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Arthur F. Kirk
President, St. Leo University
Saint Leo, Florida

Thomas M. Mengler
President, St. Mary’s University
San Antonio, Texas

Br. William Mann, F.S.C.
President, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
Winona, Minnesota

Thomas Kunkel
President, St. Norbert College
De Pere, Wisconsin

Rev. Msgr. Franklyn M. Casale
President, St. Thomas University
Miami Gardens, Florida

Br. Norman Hipps, O.S.B.
President, St. Vincent College
Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Christine M. Wiseman
President, St. Xavier University
Chicago, Illinois

Jane Gerety, R.S.M.
President, Salve Regina University
Newport, Rhode Island

A. Gabriel Esteban
President, Seton Hall University
South Orange, New Jersey

Patricia A. McGuire
President, Trinity Washington University
Washington, District of Columbia

Bassam M. Deeb
President, Trocaire College
Buffalo, New York

Thomas W. Keefe
President, University of Dallas
Irving, Texas

Daniel J. Curran
President, University of Dayton
Dayton, Ohio

Antoine M. Garibaldi
President, University of Detroit Mercy
Detroit, Michigan

Louis Agnese, Jr.
President, University of the Incarnate Word
San Antonio, Texas

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President, University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana

Pamela Trotman Reid
President, University of St. Joseph
West Hartford, Connecticut

Julie H. Sullivan
President, University of St. Thomas
St. Paul, Minnesota

Robert Ivany
President, University of St. Thomas
Houston, Texas

Mary E. Lyons
President, University of San Diego
San Diego, California

Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J.
President, University of San Francisco
San Francisco, California

Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.
President, The University of Scranton
Scranton, Pennsylvana

Sr. Diana Stano, O.S.U.
President, Ursuline College
Pepper Pike, Ohio

Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A.
President, Villanova University
Villanova, Pennsylvania

Richard Jusseaume
President, Walsh University
North Canton, Ohio

Rev. John J. Fleming, S.J.
President, Wheeling Jesuit University
Wheeling, West Virginia

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