Late last week, the federal government shut down over what many believe was the result of the fomenting and escalating xenophobia that has gripped the nation in the age of Trump. Despite the federal gridlock, Dreamers are encouraged to reapply for DACA protections as quickly as possible.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, implemented under former President Barack Obama, allowed individuals who entered the country illegally as minors to be protected from deportation and eligible for school and work. However, despite the reality of the program enjoying the support of nearly ninety percent of Americans, Trump abruptly cancelled the program and dared Congress to seek a solution despite the fact Congress had repeatedly deadlocked on the broader issue of immigration through both Republican and Democratic presidencies for years.
Although the president had promised to sign any bi-partisan agreement reached by congress on this issue—in recent days he has undermined at least two bi-partisan proposals at the apparent behest of the far-right wing of his party. According to the Center for American Progress, more than 120 Dreamers continue to lose their DACA status each day since Trump rescinded their protections.
Last week, University of California President Janet Napolitano, who served as the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security during the Obama Administration and helped craft the Executive Order for the DACA program in 2012, encouraged Dreamers to, “Re-enroll now, re-apply now for DACA. We stand with our DACA students. They are important members of our university community.”
Napolitano made those comments during a press conference in Sacramento where she joined State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and Loren Blanchard, the Cal State system’s Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.
When U.S. District Judge William Alsup recently placed a temporary injunction on Trump’s order to end the program by March 5, it was the result of lawsuits filed by the state of California, the UC system, and others.
California’s education leaders expressed their support for a pro-DACA argument before the U.S. Supreme Court and for federal legislation that would offer permanent protection to the nation’s approximately 700,000 Dreamers, including the nearly 242,000 that call California home and have received DACA status since 2012. California’s public colleges and universities collectively estimate that they enroll close to 72,300 undocumented students.
Late last year, Cal State San Bernardino President Tomas Morales noted that at his university alone, there were undocumented students from 85 different countries.