Under the current administration,there have been many attempts to alter or eliminate prior legislation, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is one of the programs that has come under attack. In response to Trump’s decision to end DACA, the University of Colorado Boulder has taken a stand in support of all dreamers, students and staff included, who call Boulder home. Given the number of college students that could be potentially affected by this policy, it is an issue that will have important consequences at CU.
Initiated in June 2012, DACA was an immigration policy that addressed the uncertain status of hundreds of thousands of young people brought to the U.S. as minors who had either entered or remained in the country without documentation. This was accomplished by granting eligible recipients temporary permission to stay in the country and obtain work permits.
On Sept. 5, 2017, the DACA policy was rescinded by President Donald Trump.
Full implementation of the rescission has been set for March 5, 2018, in order to give Congress time to manage close to one million people. The U.S. government is not accepting new DACA applications and stopped accepting renewal applications on Oct. 5, 2017.
In response to President Trump’s decision, Bruce Benson, the president of CU Boulder, announced his strong support of DACA recipients.
“In light of the announcement this morning by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, … we have engaged Colorado’s Congressional delegation to urge them to take action to allow DACA students to continue to study and work beyond March at the University of Colorado and at universities around the country.”Benson added, “We will continue to stand with our students and work to ensure they can pursue the education that will benefit them and our country, and engage them in a process to allow them to remain here.”
College Dean Bobby Braun has spoken up indicating that engineering students are united by their common study regardless of birth country. “[Dreamers] are not international students to me, they’re engineers,” Braun said. “That is the characteristic that ties us all together in this college. Whether you’re from right here in Colorado, or California, or Texas or some country around the world. You come here for Engineering… I think that’s a real positive characteristic about this college, people genuinely care.”
The University has reached out with multiple resources in support of DACA, ASSET and other undocumented students and employees. Not only does CUgive helpful information and guidelines to Dreamers, they have given vital information that warns against immigration scams and combats fraud.
“Until we learn more about the intermediate and lasting impacts of today’s decision by the White House, I want to make it clear that now more than ever the CU Boulder community will continue to stand with our DACA students and employees,” Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement to end DACA.
While those under immigration programs such as DACA face the uncertainty of the Trump administration, they can take hope in the knowledge that they have allies across the nation, including here at the University of Colorado Boulder.
While Mexico is by far the top country of origin for DACA recipients, Dreamers come from all across the world, including South Korea, Guatemala and India. As of 2017, there are approximately 800,000 individuals referred to as “Dreamers” who were originally enrolled in the program created by DACA according to the latest data released by the U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services, with over 690,000 currently enrolled in the program. According to the Denver Post, there are more than 70 undocumented students currently attending the University of Colorado Boulder.
According to the Denver Post, there are more than 70 undocumented students currently attending the University of Colorado Boulder.
The most immediate concern that Dreamers have has to do with being deported, often to a country they have no recollection of. This means abandoning their studies, their jobs and their communities. Because of the information the U.S. government has access to from their DACA applications, for example home addresses, educational history and bank accounts, they must also worry about exposing their undocumented loved ones.
The original intention of the DACA legislation was to protect a group of young people who were vulnerable to a situation outside of their control. The hope was that the legislation would be lasting. Nevertheless as Cecilia Muñoz, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, has said:
“When President Obama announced DACA in 2012, he made it clear that it was not a permanent protection. We offered as much assurance to people as we could – telling them that we would never use the data on our watch – but we couldn’t assure them about what future administrations would do with it.”
Though Muñoz’s realism is surely sensible, it doesn’t do much to help the current atmosphere of uncertainty and doubt for Dreamers. While DACA students continue to search for answers, CU Boulder is taking any possible actions to offer them aid.
MESSAGE FROM CU LEADERSHIP REGARDING DACA PROGRAM
Dear University of Colorado Students, Faculty, and Staff:
For years, the University of Colorado has welcomed DACA recipients to our campuses. DACA students enrich our community, inspire us with their commitment to their education and their futures, and add to the diversity of perspectives that makes colleges and universities in the United States unique. As the leaders of the University of Colorado, we cherish our DACA students and add our voices urging Congress to quickly find a pathway that will allow current and future undocumented students, all of whom have spent years being educated in the United States, to complete their studies without fear for their futures.
We don’t know what changes will occur in the DACA program in the near future, and we will continue to communicate with you as we learn more. But we do know that DACA recipients will remain welcome on University of Colorado campuses, and we will advocate on your behalf. Colorado grants many undocumented students the ability to receive in-state tuition,
and we will continue to admit students without regard to their immigration status. We will communicate that we expect undocumented students and workers to be treated with respect and dignity in our classrooms and our campus community. We will not release any student’s information or employee’s information to federal officials or anyone else, as this information is protected by state and federal laws, unless we receive a lawful subpoena or warrant that requires us to do so. We have created programs to provide financial assistance to undocumented students, which we will try to grow, and we plan to employ DACA recipients on our campuses for as long as we are able.
We will engage Colorado’s senators and representatives and offer our support. We will work with national educational organizations that are communicating their concerns for your futures to Congress and the White House. It’s important for you to know where we stand – and our message to the DACA recipients in our community is simple – we stand with you.
Bruce Benson | President of CU
Philip DiStefano | Chancellor, CU Boulder
Don Elliman | Chancellor, CU Anschutz Medical Campus
Dorothy Horrell | Chancellor, CU Denver
Venkat Reddy | Chancellor, CU Colorado Springs