UC Sues Department of Homeland Security Over DACA Repeal

UC President Janet Napolitano, pictured here in 2013, helped create DACA under the Obama administration. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia)

Gwendolyn Wu

The University of California announced Friday morning that it will sue the Department of Homeland Security for its “unlawful” repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Approximately 4,000 students in the system are undocumented, many of whom are DACA recipients, according to the UC Newsroom.

“We are asking that the decision to rescind DACA be enjoined and we are asking for a declaration that DACA is a lawful … exercise of power under the executive branch,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a morning press conference with media. Napolitano, who said she initiated the directive as head of DHS in 2012, also said that some staff members employed by UC benefit from DACA.

Reasoning for the lawsuit is threefold: Napolitano said that the decision was not supported by reasoned decision-making, did not follow necessary procedures as outlined by the Administrative Procedure Act, and violated the due process rights of students and staff protected by DACA.

The UC announced its lawsuit against the Trump administration Friday morning. 

“The United States, and the University, have benefited enormously from the presence of the Dreamers, accomplished young men and women who are our students, and colleagues, and neighbors,” the lawsuit reads. “They are Americans, a fact that [the DHS and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke’s] precipitous decision cannot change.”

Under DACA, some undocumented immigrants can obtain a Social Security number and work permit, which shields them for a renewable two-year period from deportation. To qualify, an applicant cannot have a criminal record and must have resided in the U.S. continuously since June 2017.

Under President Donald Trump, the policy has been rescinded, with Trump notifying Congress to make an alternate plan within a six-month period. New DACA applications are not being accepted, and renewals for people whose eligibility expires before early March 2018 are only being accepted through Oct. 5.

The repeal has triggered waves of backlash, with rallies taking place throughout the nation. In its wake, many legal services and immigrant resource centers have offered free help for immigrants renewing their DACA eligibility.

Napolitano said that the court or Congress should act to resolve the matter “once and for all.”