Georgetown students objects to Johnson as graduation speaker

A number of students at Georgetown University are demanding that the invitation to have the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, speak at the school’s graduation ceremony this year be revoked. Those students claim he is an inappropriate choice given his direct responsibility for separating undocumented immigrant families.

30 students leading a group known as UndocuHoyas wrote to the office of the dean of university’s School of Foreign Service in Washington DC last week to say that Johnson is a poor choice to deliver a commencement address at a graduation ceremony because of his role in immigration enforcement, according to The Hoya. A petition has also been circulated by other students to try to have Johnson’s speech, which was announced on May 6, cancelled.

The letter stated that students should not have to get their diplomas from someone who in some instances has caused their families to be separated and strongly implored the dean to rescind the invitation to Secretary Johnson and take the necessary action to make sure that this year’s Georgetown University graduation ceremony is inclusive and safe to all members of the student community.

Hemly Ordonez, who graduated from Georgetown University in 2008, says that undocumented immigrants who attend the school could be upset by Johnson’s visit, calling the move an insult to his family and to every other alumni of the university who comes from families with some undocumented members. Rachel Pugh, the spokeswoman for Georgetown University, says they hope Johnson’s attendance will generate discussion on immigration and freedom of speech.