Maria Blanco did a double take when the Google alert popped up in her inbox late last week: President Trump had reversed his campaign pledge and decided to continue a federal program temporarily suspending deportations of young people who are in the country illegally. The news thrilled Blanco, an attorney who heads the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center -- the nation's first and only university system to provide free legal aid to students without legal status and their families. But her excitement was quashed within hours, when administration officials clarified that they still had made "no final determination" on the program -- called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA -- leaving in question the fate of 750,000 young immigrants under its protection. An estimated 3,700 students without legal status attend UC campuses. "It's such a roller-coaster ride," Blanco said Saturday.
Welcome to Essential Education, our daily look at education in California and beyond. Schools across California braced for news on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. On Tuesday, Trump announced he would phase out the program. Regardless of the decision, Dreamers are defiant. Some want to be publicly identified as they tell their stories, despite potential repercussions.
The University of California sued the Trump administration Friday for rescinding protections for immigrant students without legal status, saying the action unconstitutionally violates their rights on "nothing more than unreasoned executive whim." The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is the first legal effort by a university to block the Trump administration's decision this week to end protection from deportation for nearly 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as minors. Known as "Dreamers," the young people were given a reprieve from deportation and access to work permits if they arrived in the U.S. before age 16 and stayed in school and out of trouble. The 10-campus UC system has about 4,000 students -- along with teachers, researchers and healthcare providers -- who are in the country illegally. President Trump's decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, sparked an uproar, with rallies and protests across the nation and objections from lawmakers across the political spectrum.
The University of California vowed Thursday to continue leading the way in supporting immigrant students, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration's plan to rescind temporary protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. UC President Janet Napolitano and Board of Regents Chair John A. Pérez hailed the court decision in a case that the UC system first brought in 2017 and said the university would continue to provide its generous immigrant support services, including the nation's first free legal services center for students without legal status. "They still have special needs, particularly in the current environment, and we want to make sure that we are supporting them even as they pursue their university educations," Napolitano said in a teleconference Thursday. The 10-campus UC system enrolls an estimated 4,000 such students, but it is unknown how many of them qualified for the temporary protection from deportation and the right to a work permit under the program at issue, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Napolitano crafted that program in 2012 as Homeland Security secretary, benefiting immigrants who were bought to the United States illegally before age 16, attended school and stayed out of trouble.