UC System Advocates for Student “Dreamers”

The University of California gave oral arguments in the Supreme Court last week over the repeal of the DACA program. The UC’s suit claims that President Trump’s decision to repeal violated the “due process” clause of the Fifth Amendment, and asks that the “unconstitutional, unjust, and unlawful” decision be set aside. 

The bench heard a variety of arguments from both sides; the prosecution claimed that repealing the program was an unconstitutional use of power, while Trump’s administration argued the program had been unconstitutional since its inception. The defense also opposed the accusation that the rationale provided for the decision to repeal DACA was insufficient. Instead, they claimed that the extensive results of this action had already been carefully considered, and cited potential negative consequences of allowing DACA to continue. 

It is unclear what the Supreme Court will decide. 

If rescinded, over 700,000 DACA recipients, commonly referred to as “dreamers,” will lose more than their protection against deportation. Without the work permits they receive through DACA, they could lose their ability to provide for themselves and their families. Certain states also grant dreamers reduced tuition. For many students, the loss of these crucial financial benefits could limit their access to higher education.

According the University of California, a substantial number of the 4,000 undocumented students currently enrolled across the 10 UC campuses are protected by DACA. UC President Janet Napolitano has been an outspoken proponent of these students: “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.” 

The University of California system has continuously affirmed their dedication to these students and stated that they will continue to provide mental health and legal resources to dreamers. Napolitano also indicated that the UC plans to use private funds to support these students in the event that the repeal is upheld. 

The Supreme Court has until June 2020 to release their final decision. For many student dreamers, their education and everyday reality will be permanently affected by the choice the Supreme Court makes.  

By: Payton Schwesinger
Class of 2021

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