Our DREAMERS are here to stay.
On Thursday, June 18 the United States Supreme Court held, in a 5-4 vote, that the executive order by the Administration to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was unlawful. This ruling allows, at least temporarily, the continuation of DACA. While it is possible the Trump Administration could more closely follow the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, this effort would take time and most DACA recipients will likely remain protected into the next administration.
DACA, initiated by President Obama in 2012, allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to have temporary permission to stay and obtain work permits and/or enroll in college. Approximately 216,000 DACA-eligible immigrants are currently enrolled in higher education across the country. The program only shields those people from deportation who were brought to the United States before 2007 when they were younger than age 16.
UO President Michael H. Schill issued a statement expressing his gratitude to the Supreme Court for blocking efforts to shut down DACA, which has helped countless young immigrants in Oregon and across our nation. He noted that at a time when society is painfully grappling with disparities in access to opportunity caused by historic and systemic racism, we need programs like DACA now more than ever.
The UO DREAMERS Work Group, comprised of faculty, staff and students dedicated to promoting an undocumented-friendly environment and improving the experiences of Dreamer students at the UO, issued a statement that said:
“For months, students at the University of Oregon, like other DACA recipients across the state and the country, waited in limbo for the SCOTUS decision, which would determine their ability to continue and complete their educations and pursue their chosen careers….Today’s ruling impacts nearly 10,000 DACA recipients in the state of Oregon, among nearly ¾ of a million nationwide. For many UO students, the ruling provides temporary relief after a long period of anxiety and uncertainty.”
Oregon Governor Kate Brown lauded the decision as well, affirming that Oregon will always be a welcoming, safe place for all and that Oregon is a sanctuary state that prevents enforcement of federal immigration law.
Many higher education associations issued statements in support of the decision, including the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, the Association of American Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Jose Magaña-Salgado, Director of Policy and Communications, Presidents’ Alliance and DACA Recipient, stated:
“As a long-time DACA recipient, today’s decision represents a shocking and unexpected glimmer of hope in an increasingly turbulent and difficult time for immigrant youth. The Court’s decision provides a desperately needed lifeboat for immigrant youth, such as myself, to remain in the only country we consider home, grow our roots even deeper, and communicates a resounding message: ‘We see you. You belong.’ It is my sincere and deep hope that today’s decision marks the beginning of a transformation of our nation’s immigration policies away from division and deportation and toward protecting all immigrants, particularly immigrants still vulnerable to our nation’s deportation apparatus, including our parents, LGTBTQ immigrants, and black immigrants.”
The UO Dreamers’ release emphasized that Congressional action is still needed. HR 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, would make the program permanent. It passed the US House June 4, 2019 on a vote of 237-186 and is pending in the Senate.
"We also remember that DACA is temporary and only protects a small fraction of our Dreamer community. Indeed, we are just a couple of years away from the time when college freshmen will have been born too late to qualify. Along with other Dreamer advocates, allies, and students across the country, we stand together in the broader effort to push for comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a path to citizenship not only for DACA recipients but for their parents, families, and others who make such important contributions to our country. Only through Congressional action can the precarious immigration status of millions of students and their families in the U.S be remedied."