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UCLA Argues Trump’s End to DACA Could Impact Campus and Surrounding Area

University announces support to undocumented students on campus

By Sam Catanzaro

Tuesday the University of California, supported by UCLA, made arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program challenging the Trump Administration’s rescission of the program, saying the president’s actions could negatively impact the UCLA campus and surrounding neighborhood.  

DACA, created on June 15, 2012, by then-President Barack Obama, defers deportation proceedings for two years for qualified individuals who were brought to the United States illegally when they were children while giving approved individuals work authorization. These “dreamers” can have their DACA status renewed under the program. According to the Pew Research Center, there are nearly 800,000 individuals under the DACA program.

“With the fate of DACA now in the hands of the highest court, UCLA continues to follow this matter closely and remains committed to supporting and defending undocumented students on our campus,” said Chancellor Gene D. Block and Abel Valenzuela Jr., Professor and Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Immigration Policy, in a joint statement. “DACA students at UCLA have excelled academically and professionally and continue to do so. Every day, we learn of their and their family’s contributions to the fields of science, education, business, and academia — both on and off campus — and to our civic institutions. Ending DACA would cause many of our students to lose valuable academic resources, negatively affect their well-being and reduce their opportunities to contribute to their families and our communities and neighborhoods.” 

“Ending DACA would cause many of our students to lose valuable academic resources, negatively affect their well-being and reduce their opportunities to contribute to their families and our communities and neighborhoods.” 

Chancellor Gene D. Block and Abel Valenzuela Jr., Professor and Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Immigration Policy

The Trump administration says they are rescinding DACA because the program is illegal and unconstitutional to begin with.

The lawsuit filed in the Northern District of California against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its acting secretary, Elaine Duke, is the first to be filed by a university seeking to stop the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program. 

UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, created the DACA program in 2012. Applicants for DACA were only approved if they were in or had graduated from high school or college, or were in the military, or an honorably discharged veteran. They cannot have been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanor or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

“Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, especially not the very agency that I led,” Napolitano said. “It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community. They represent the best of who we are — hard working, resilient and motivated high achievers. To arbitrarily and capriciously end the DACA program, which benefits our country as a whole, is not only unlawful, it is contrary to our national values and bad policy.”

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