President Price Reiterates Duke's Support for All Immigrants

During virtual summit, president supports fair policy solutions that provide clarity

President Price Duke is fully committed to partnership and engagement with leaders from industry and government to address immigration and other pressing issues.
President Price Duke is fully committed to partnership and engagement with leaders from industry and government to address immigration and other pressing issues.

Duke President Vincent E. Price on Thursday told a virtual summit on immigration that the university is “working harder than ever to support every member of the Duke community, regardless of their immigration status.”

“At Duke, we are fully committed to partnership and engagement with leaders from industry and government as we work to address the world’s most pressing issues,” Price said. “And there is perhaps no issue more pressing than developing reasonable, fair policy solutions that provide clarity for those in our immigration system.”

The summit, “Carolinas Flourishing: Unlocking the Region’s Economic Potential through Bipartisan Immigration Solutions,” featured short talks from leaders in business, education and government in North and South Carolina.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said constant gridlock on immigration reform in Congress is hurting states, businesses and families.

He noted that immigrants will help fill thousands of new jobs in the Triangle announced last week by Fujifilm Corp. (Holly Springs) and Google Cloud (Durham).

“We will need everyone, everyone to fill these jobs that will fuel our economy,” Cooper said.

Price said Duke is fully committed to partnership and engagement with leaders from industry and government to address the world’s most pressing issues.

“And there is perhaps no issue more pressing than developing reasonable, fair policy solutions that provide clarity for those in our immigration system,” Price said.

“Every year, tens of thousands of students and employees come to Duke to learn, to work, to conduct research, to care for patients in our health system, and to take part in campus life. And in this uncertain moment, we are working harder than ever to supporting every member of the Duke community, regardless of their immigration status.”

The summit’s co-sponsor, the American Business Immigration Coalition -- Carolinas Chapter, reported that North and South Carolina are home to more than 1.1 million immigrants. And that immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, in the Carolinas have a combined spending power of $28.8 billion and contribute more than $10.3 billion in federal and state taxes.

In addition, the group cited a report in The Hill that found 69% of those surveyed said they support an earned pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who can pass a background check and pay taxes. Among Democrats, 86 percent supported the idea, while 51 percent of Republicans said they agreed.

Price added that Duke will continue to take significant steps to support members of the community who are subject to immigration proceedings, which includes:

-- Providing resources and guidance to students and employees and making referrals to legal aid when necessary;
-- Maintaining confidentiality of student and employee records the fullest extent of the law;
-- Continuing to meet the full demonstrated  financial need for undocumented students;
-- Strongly advocating for a long-term resolution through the DREAM Act and similar efforts.

“We do so because we believe that it aligns our mission to train leaders for the global community, because we recognize the vitality that a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds brings to our campus, and because we seek to foster a welcoming community that reflects the shared challenges and aspirations our increasingly connected world,” Price said. 

“We will continue to support all of members of the Duke University family through these challenging times, and will work with business and government leaders to advocate for policies that open doors, not slam them shut.”

Price added: “Our core values compel us to protect the rights of students and employees, who embody what James B. Duke called ‘character, determination and … an ambition for life.’ It is my personal belief -- and our university’s firm commitment -- that those efforts should not be constrained by immigration status.”