When President Trump announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival Act (DACA) on Tuesday, Sept. 5, many dreamers believed that the unsettling news meant they could no longer begin, or continue, their education in the U.S.
However, in the wake of President Trump’s announcement, many schools have spoken out against this decision.
DACA is a program that was initiated by President Obama in 2012. It allows children brought to the United States with their parents a two-year period of deferred action in which they are legally protected from deportation. By ending the program, 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children will be in danger of deportation as early as March.
Colleges and universities have been declaring themselves sanctuaries as well as standing up against the end of DACA to protect those affected by this decision. The University of California college system even went as far as suing President Trump over his decision that affects over 4,000 of their students without legal documentation. The president of the University of California system, Janet Napolitano, helped create DACA while working with the Department of Homeland Security in 2012.
“To arbitrarily and capriciously end the DACA program, which benefits our country as a whole, is not only unlawful, but is contrary to our national values and bad policy,” Napolitano said in an interview with the Washington Post.
While this is a more direct retaliation to the decision, other universities have also made statements against ending DACA.
The University of Pennsylvania, President Trump’s alma mater, spoke out against his decision in a statement on their website. President of the university, Amy Gutmann said, “This is a heartbreaking day for our country. President Trump’s decision to repeal the DACA program threatens hundreds of thousands of young people who were raised in America, love this country and are an integral part of the American Dream.”
University of Pennsylvania later put out a statement ensuring that immigration agencies will not be allowed on campus without proper legal permission and that they will continue to provide financial aid to undocumented and DACA protected students.
Other colleges and universities are contributing to the cause by signing Pomona College’s letter of support for DACA. This letter has 704 signatures from presidents of schools all over the country who support the DACA program.
“These students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future,” Pomona College said in their statement supporting DACA on the school’s website.
It appears that President Trump is trying to work with Democrats on this issue. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also seem to be willing to make DACA a permanent program. However, President Trump’s meeting with the Democrats was a discussion, not an agreement.