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ECC, County leadership back DACA Program with support and signage at City Campus

Article by: Michael Farrell

BUFFALO—In response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent decision to phase out protections for children of undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, leaders from SUNY Erie Community College and Erie County gathered outside City Campus on September 7 to express support and reveal new on-campus messaging for those protected by the program, referred to as “Dreamers.”

“There was a time when I myself was undocumented in this country, and I understand the panic associated with this designation,” said SUNY Erie President Dan Hocoy, Ph.D., standing outside the College’s Burt Flickinger Athletic Center.  “These students protected under DACA are no different from me or other immigrants who came to America for a better life, and are now contributing to the country’s thriving existence. They need to be protected, and as the leader of SUNY Erie, they need to know that we stand with them.”

The event—which featured President Hocoy, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke, and a large gathering of SUNY Erie’s faculty, staff and students—featured a reiteration of pro-DACA support first issued by the college on Tuesday morning. Led by President Hocoy, the message focused on supporting students eager and able to contribute to their American surroundings; and understanding that, for immigrants, refugees and their families now living in the United States, education is the great equalizer.

“Dreamers are welcome in Erie County, and we are proud to stand today with President Hocoy and the ECC family in support of the DACA program and the opportunities it presents,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “By working together we can help to preserve the American dream for all who aspire to a higher education and a productive place in our community, and we will never turn our backs on individuals hoping to build a better future for themselves and their families.”

Along with the morning program’s statements, SUNY Erie also revealed its postered support headed to prominent places at all three of its campuses. Laid over red with a new SUNY Erie logo under the message, “Hate Has No Home Here” on City Campus’s 45 Oak Building, the 8x10, mural-style and multi-lingual message will stand as a reminder of the three-campus college’s commitment to inclusiveness; and will be seen by those at City Campus or by the thousands of cars that pass daily on South Division and Elm Street, or connecting to Route 33.

“It was my honor to join SUNY Erie in not only standing against hate, but standing for what is right,” said Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke. “While those at the head of power in Washington, D.C. wish to push Dreamers back into the shadows, we in Erie County will stand to protect them.”

SUNY Erie currently hosts students from nearly 60 different countries, and continues to be a critical entry point to higher education and training opportunities for the region’s burgeoning immigrant and refugee population.

Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state’s SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC’s faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership. For more information, visit www.ecc.edu or call (716) 851-1ECC.