Educating DREAMers at a Jesuit University

Most Dreamers were brought to the United States by their families at a young age and grow up attending American schools, speaking English, and believing in the American dream—that with hard work, anyone can rise up and overcome the circumstances of their birth. But for many undocumented students, no matter how hard they work, their dream of college is out of reach. These young men and women are not eligible for federal financial aid and most private scholarships, as many of these require citizenship or legal permanent residency. The result is that, of the 98,000 Dreamers who graduate high school each year, only about 10% will enroll in a post-secondary institution and far fewer are expected to graduate with a four-year degree, making undocumented youth one of the most vulnerable populations served by U.S. schools.

A Catholic, Jesuit Institution

As a Catholic, Jesuit institution, it is central to our identity to strive for a more just world—one in which all of God’s children can flourish. Catholic Social Teaching on immigration underscores our moral obligation to “welcome the stranger among us,” to embrace diverse newcomers and provide assistance to immigrants, migrants, and refugees.

Statement of AJCU Presidents on Undocumented Students

On Nov. 30, 2016, President Lovell reaffirmed our commitment to Dreamers by signing the Statement of AJCU Presidents on Undocumented Students. In it, the presidents of 27 Jesuit colleges and universities vowed to continue to protect the Dreamers on our campuses to the fullest extent of the law and to promote the retention of DACA. It states, in part, “Grounded in our Catholic and Jesuit mission, we are guided by our commitment to uphold the dignity of every person, to work for the common good of our nation, and to promote a living faith that works for justice. We see our work of teaching, scholarship and the formation of minds and spirits as a sacred trust…That trust calls us to embrace the entire human family, regardless of their immigration status or religious allegiance.” Marquette University is committed to helping Dreamers obtain an education and thereby affording them with the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.

Undocu Jesuit Network

Launched in 2020, the Undocu Jesuit Network (UJN) is an initiative of the Ignation Solidarity Network that provides regular virtual gathering spaces for Dreamers and others who face immigration status-related challenges. The UJN also hosts an annual summits that brings students together from across the country to tell their stories, learn organizing strategies, and create networks of support and community. Marquette Dreamers have been involved in the UJN summit since its inception in spring 2022. For more information, please contact Maria Tijerina, Inclusive Excellence Graduate Fellow, at: