USD Creates Immigration Dialogue Website, President Harris Comments on Recent Actions

The University of San Diego launched an informative website about immigration for dialogue, communication and resources for the campus community at University of San Diego launched an informative website about immigration for dialogue, communication and resources for the campus community at

Immigration is a mainstay issue for most people — directly and indirectly — and the ramifications can affect everyday life in the United States, including higher education.

In the aftermath of a Jan. 27 executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump to restrict immigration from seven countries where the vast majority of the population is Muslim, suspend all refugee admission for 120 days and bar all Syrian refugees indefinitely, higher education institutions around the nation have responded, including University of San Diego President James T. Harris III, DEd. 

In his Jan. 30 campus community response, Harris reemphasized USD’s dedication “as a Catholic University, to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as others impacted by this order, and we will do all that we can to support our students and employees as they return to our campus.”

Harris’ words, along with others’ remarks such as Diocese of San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy and other national associations, can be viewed on a new USD website,, that launched this past week.

“Its purpose is to share information about the current national dialogue on potential changes to immigration policy and enforcement and how we can best support our campus community, particularly our students who are immigrants, including those who are eligible for deferred action under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process,” according to President Harris.

The website features counseling, pastoral and legal services available on and off USD’s campus for students, employees, their families and members of the local community.

“As a contemporary Catholic university, the principles of access and inclusion have deep roots on this campus, and many actions have been taken over the years in support of these beliefs. I wish to reassure you that we remain committed to and reaffirm all principles reflecting our Culture of Care that protect immigrants on our campus and promote social justice and the dignity of every person,” Harris said.

Creation of the website comes after a presidential task force, chaired by Stephen Ferruolo, dean and professor in USD’s School of Law, was formed in November. The task force created a thoughtful set of recommendations to help protect international and immigrant students, faculty, staff and their families.

Harris added, “I enthusiastically endorse and actively support these recommendations as we set a standard for engagement to confront any potential forms of discrimination and injustice, while at the same time offering assurances of support, safety and solidarity to those in need.”

— Ryan T. Blystone