Standing with Salvadorans
Dear Members of the University Community,
Much on my mind these days are the 200,000-plus Salvadorans who stand to lose their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as a result of the Trump administration’s recent decision to end the humanitarian program, effective September 2019. As I have stated before in regards to DACA, I stand on the side of aiding humanity, I stand on the side of women and men who were forced to abandon their homes due to hardship and loss. In 2001, these women and men who faced two devastating earthquakes, coupled with rampant violence and corruption, found refuge in the United States. These women and men raised children, contributed to the workforce, paid taxes, and 17 years later are now expected to return to a land that is no longer home, but foreign. I agree-- the issues and politics are complex; but, this soars above the realm of politics to the core of our Jesuit values at Santa Clara, and our promise to those among us who are most in need. What does it mean to be men and women for and with others, if, when it matters most, the needs of others are met with silence, indifference, and abandonment? Consider the 1982 SCU Commencement Address of martyr Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J., who echoed the words of Ignatius of Loyola:
Only open your human heart, your Christian heart, and ask yourselves the three questions Ignatius of Loyola put to himself as he stood in front of the crucified world: What have I done for Christ in this world? What am I doing now? And above all, what should I do?
We might reflect on this quotation and ask, What have I done for those who suffer? What am I doing now? And above all, what should I do? Such are the questions I contemplate in prayer, and I urge you to consider, regardless of your religious tradition or political affiliation. I recognize the tactic of forcing Congress to reach a critical point of action; however, I am wary of the method of leveraging the livelihood, security, and happiness of human lives to achieve political ends. I appreciate your attention to this matter, and I hope we can continue to search for sensible solutions that are rooted not only in protecting humanity, but also in promoting all humans to flourish. Such is the message I shall send to members of Congress.
Santa Clara University has a long-standing relationship with the people of El Salvador and we will continue to look for new ways to engage these communities. I look forward to my visit to El Salvador in March as a reaffirmation our solidarity and unity.
To the greater glory of spreading God’s love on earth,
Michael E. Engh, S.J.