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Chancellor Milliken’s Statement on Immigrants

Dear Members of the CUNY Community,

Following the presidential election, many students at CUNY and at campuses across the country remain understandably anxious and concerned about the possible policies of the next administration. This is particularly true for the policies, which may not be articulated for some time, that could affect members of our community that CUNY has served since its founding – immigrants. Our immigrant community helps define who we are, where we have been and our future at this University. It brings passion, ambition, creativity and, perhaps most important, the dreams that are, in fact, the American dream. At CUNY, we have an unwavering commitment to providing opportunity to low income and underrepresented students and immigrants, a point of honor and strength that makes our mission so vital. As I wrote recently in a letter to all members of the CUNY community, this mission will not change, and the city and the country will be much better for it.

CUNY is the undisputed leader among universities in this country in the support and services we provide to immigrants on our campuses and throughout the city. That will remain the case. We have led the nation in the number of undocumented students with special scholarships to support their studies. We operate the extremely effective Citizenship Now! program, which has offices in all five boroughs, providing an array of one-on-one legal services, referrals to needed social services, reviews of legal status and assistance with applications. We also provide counseling for students on immigration issues on our campuses. This support is among the clearest statements we could make of the value we place on educating and assisting the people who have proven generation after generation that they will take their places among the greatest New Yorkers and sustain New York as one of the greatest cities in the world.

In response to the questions and concerns that have been raised by the recent election, we are taking a number of steps to support in every way we can our immigrant community. As we initiate these measures, CUNY will continue to review applicable laws and do all we can within the bounds of the law to ensure the security of all our students. Our colleges have been active in providing opportunities for counseling of students and staff, and have held forums for discussion and support.

As part of our “Immigrants Matter@CUNY” steps, we will be holding a two-hour Facebook Live session on Monday, November 21st, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to answer questions and address concerns. We will have lawyers, student affairs advisors and other specialists on hand to provide advice and referrals where necessary. We expect to hold another Facebook Live session later. All CUNY campuses will be publicizing our counseling services and ensuring that all students are aware of the resources on which they can draw for support. We will be posting a document with frequently asked questions and answers, which will be updated as needed.

We hope all affected students will take advantage of CUNY and college resources and appreciate the great importance we place on providing you with the support and services that will help you build your futures and strengthen our university and our city.

James B. Milliken