Calif. Higher Ed. Leaders to Trump: Keep DACA

The presidents of California’s three higher education systems issued a joint letter on Tuesday calling on the President-elect Trump to maintain Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program, which gives temporary legal status and work permits to some undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, rests on an executive order by President Obama. During the election campaign Trump suggested he would repeal DACA among other anti-immigrant actions.

According to the letter signed by Janet Napolitano, Timothy White, and Eloy Ortiz Oakley:

“DACA is rooted in the fundamental premise that no one should be punished for the actions of others. In order to be eligible for DACA, an individual must have been brought to this country as a minor, stayed out of trouble, and continued to pursue an education. These sons and daughters of undocumented immigrants are as American as any other child across the nation, in all but the letter of the law….

There will be time for a vigorous debate and dialogue around immigration reform in the days ahead, and we look forward to engaging with you in a healthy and constructive conversation on this important issue. But now, as you continue to build your new Administration and appoint members of your Cabinet, on behalf of these Dreamers, we implore you to let them know they are valued members of our communities and that they will be allowed to continue to pursue the American dream.

You can download a copy of the letter here.

This request from the system executives comes as faculty members across each system are circulating their own letters and petitions. Immediately after Trump’s election victory hundreds of UCLA faculty added their names to a letter condemning Trump’s campaign rhetoric. A second letter, also signed by large numbers of UCLA faculty, called for establishing the university as a sanctuary for undocumented students who might face deportation under Trump.

On November 26, about two dozen UCLA faculty sent a letter to Janet Napolitano lauding the UC Regents’ statement in support of immigrant students and employees, and spelling out a number of specific policy recommendations.

As you know, students throughout the University system are deeply afraid of the variety of actions that the incoming Trump administration might take regarding immigration law and policy as well as the effects that President-elect Trump’s campaign and rhetoric have had on the cultural atmosphere more generally….

We recognize that these will be challenging times for the University and all its members. But we are convinced that the University can best weather them by insisting upon its long-standing ideals as a place where students, staff, and faculty can all come together to open inquiry. If the University does not ensure this to all of its members, it will have failed in one of its fundamental duties.

Among the policy recommendations are increased resources to the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center, and programs for undocumented students; committing the University to providing legal services for students, staff, and their families who are affected by new policies; commit to continued financial support for undocumented students, and insulate the university generally from immigration enforcement.

A copy of that letter is here.

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