UC Sues Trump Administration over DACA Repeal
UC President Janet Napolitano was secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013 and helped create the DACA program.
The University of California filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in federal court on Friday, alleging the repeal of DACA has unconstitutionally violated the rights of the school and its students who are part of the program.
The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California against both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its acting secretary, Elaine Duke, according to a press release from the UC Office of the President. It was filed pro bono with the help of Covington & Burling, LLP.
The lawsuit asks the court to prohibit the repeal of DACA because it is “unconstitutional, unjust, and unlawful”. It also alleges the Trump administration failed to properly assess the repeal’s cost to schools and recipients.
Last week, the Trump Administration announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) would be phased out after six months and urged Congress to legislate a replacement before then.
The program was created under the Obama Administration and aimed to protect young, undocumented immigrants, who were brought to the United States illegally, from deportation.
The lawsuit may not come as a surprise since UC President Janet Napolitano helped created DACA while serving as secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013.
“Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, especially not the very agency that I led,” says Napolitano.
Attorney Jeff Sessions had previously stated that the repeal was based on an unconstitutional executive order that circumvented the authority of Congress.
DACA currently affects 800,000 young adults — 220,000 of whom reside in California.
UC has approximately 4,000 undocumented students, teachers, researchers and healthcare providers.
“They’ve grown up here, gotten their educations here. Many of them don’t even speak the language of the country to which they would be deported if this decision were allowed to stand,” Napolitano says of many UC DACA students.
The press release emphasizes that the DACA program has a “rigorous application and security review process”. Applicants are approved if they were in or had graduated from high school or college, were in the military or had been honorably discharged, had not been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanor, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Napolitano’s team plans to press the court to move “expeditiously”, according to Mercury News. In the meantime, she urges DACA recipients whose status will expire before the March cutoff date to apply for renewal prior to the October 5 deadline.
“It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community,” says Napolitano. “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.”
Following UC’s lawsuit filing, 15 states and the District of Columbia also filed lawsuits against the Trump administration.