UC leaders respond to federal decision to end DACA

VENOOS MOSHAYEDI / AGGIE FILE

Administrators call on Congress to pass similar legislation

On Sept. 8, the University of California sued the Trump administration over the administration’s recently announced plans to eliminate DACA. The group commonly referred to as Dreamers — Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors –– are those who were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16. Dreamers were previously eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) protections before the Justice department announced DACA would be terminated on Sept. 5.

Current DACA authorizations will be honored until their two-year period ends, with the last ones ending on March 5, 2020. Congress now faces pressure to pass a replacement from both sides of the political aisle.  

UC President Janet Napolitano, who helped create the DACA program, released a statement on Sept. 5 regarding the influence of current immigration politics on UC students. Napolitano explained her outrage at educational opportunity being thwarted due to federal changes in immigration policy.

“I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s decision to effectively end the DACA program and uproot the lives of an estimated 800,000 Dreamers across the nation,” Napolitano said. “This backward-thinking, far-reaching move threatens to separate families and derail the futures of some of this country’s brightest young minds, thousands of whom currently attend or have graduated from the University of California.”

Napolitano urged Congress to pass an act similar to DACA which would protect young undocumented students from deportation and would “secure [a] pathway toward citizenship.”

“The University and the state of California stand together in our belief that students should be admitted to UC and other institutions of higher education based on their records of achievement and without regard to their immigration status,” Napolitano stated. “President Trump’s decision undermines the ability of affected students to support themselves while at UC or other universities.”

Listing solutions and steps forward, Napolitano also affirmed that her advisory committee on undocumented students will proceed with its work.

“In the meantime, UC will continue to offer services to our undocumented students, including: continuing to allow California residents who are Dreamers to pay in-state tuition; maintaining the DREAM loan program for financial aid; offering legal services to our undocumented students; supporting campus-based student service centers; and directing campus police not to contact, detain, question or arrest individuals based on suspected undocumented status, or to enter agreements to undertake joint efforts to make arrests for federal immigration law violations,” Napolitano stated.

Echoing Napolitano’s sentiments, UC Davis Chancellor Gary May also expressed disappointment regarding the federal adjustments to effectively end DACA in a published statement. Alongside Napolitano, May called on Congress to reinstate legislation which would mirror the protections ensured by DACA.

“Abandoning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals […] program runs counter to the University of California principles of open and equal access to higher education for students of all backgrounds,” May expressed. “Turning our backs on these students is not who we are. UC Davis graduates who were protected from deportation under DACA have blossomed with careers in medicine, law, social work and much more. Keep the American Dream alive, for all.”

Additionally, three chair members of the UC Board of Regents released a statement on behalf of the entire board imploring Congress to work collaboratively to reverse the repercussions of ending DACA.

 

Written by: Aaron Liss –– campus@theaggie.org