UC DACA supporters
June 18, 2020

UC officials applaud Supreme Court's DACA decision

University filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security in 2017

Author: UCR News
June 18, 2020

University of California officials applauded on Thursday the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Trump administration’s attempt to end a program that allowed 650,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients to live and work in the country.

“Justice and the rule of law won the day,” said UC President Janet Napolitano, who helped create DACA when she served as secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama. “The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the University of California and the California attorney general’s challenge against the Trump administration’s capricious action is a victory for hundreds of thousands of young people who are making vital contributions to their families, schools, employers and the nation.”

John Perez
UC Board of Regents Chair John A. Perez is interviewed outside the Supreme Court after arguments on Tuesday. Photos by Scott Henrichsen

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable ... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals,’” said John A. Pérez, chair of the UC Board of Regents and speaker emeritus of the California Assembly.

“Today we thank those dedicated individuals who stood with the University of California, the state of California, and all the groups that supported our case. Their tireless exertions and passionate concern defeated the Trump administration's senseless attack on young immigrants who have lived here all their lives. Although the battle to provide a permanent status for DACA participants continues, and much sacrifice and struggle remains, today we join the entire UC community and all DACA recipients to celebrate this day of justice.” 

In September 2017, UC became the first university to sue the Department of Homeland Security for its rescission of DACA. There are about 200,000 DACA recipients in California. 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also filed suit to restore DACA, as did numerous other states, entities and individual DACA participants. Following the University’s 2017 suit, more than 1,000 individuals, companies, institutions of higher education, religious institutions, law enforcement officials, advocacy groups and academics signed on to briefs in support of the challenge to DACA’s rescission. The lawsuit was filed with the pro bono support of the law firm Covington & Burling LLP.

The Supreme Court sided 5-4 with lower court decisions that held the Trump administration had violated federal rules holding a president must provide adequate justification for ending a program. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said the rescission was "arbitrary and capricious."

Since it was created, DACA has permitted more than 800,000 young immigrants to live and work lawfully in the United States. The next step is for Congress to enact permanent protection for DACA recipients that will provide a pathway to citizenship.

"UC will never remain silent when unlawful actions threaten our students and community members," Napolitano and the 10 UC chancellors wrote in a letter distributed to the UC community on Thursday. "We are so grateful for all of you who have joined with us to ensure that UC remains a safe and welcoming place - and a beacon of opportunity - for all."

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