The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program enacted in 2012 aims to protect undocumented students from deportation. They are referred to as Dreamers for their ardent ambitions to achieve the American Dream. This program is not only critical to the successes of more than 240,000 DACA students on US college campuses, but also to college students who benefit greatly from the addition of immigrant students from different cultures and backgrounds.
On September 5th, 2017, the current administration attempted to end the DACA program, and no new applications are being accepted. While the status of the DACA program is currently endangered, two federal court injunctions have allowed the program to accept renewal for existing DACA students for the time being. The DACA program has consequences on the lives of hundreds of thousands of student recipients, their families and loved ones, and the U.S. economy.
Numerous university administrators have come out in support of equitable treatment of immigrants and Dreamers. Additionally, more than a third of US states have initiated policies allowing DACA students to attend college with in-state tuition rates. We hope this momentum sustains until legislative action provides for a more secure future for affected students.
It is also important to recognize that DACA, while a vital program, should not be the end of our advocacy. The DACA program does not ensure a “path to citizenship,” nor does it solve all problems for recipients. Furthermore, there are tens of thousands of immigrants who are ineligible for the DACA program for reasons including age and student status. For the time being, it is crucial that college student educators and administrators affirm their commitment to the protection of DACA and immigrant students, and demand legislative action to give these students, for many of whom the United States is the only country they call home, the justice and dignity they deserve.
1. Fattal, Isabel. "How Higher-Education Leaders Are Fighting for DACA." The Atlantic. September 01, 2017. Accessed June 06, 2018.
2. "The Dream Act, DACA, and Other Policies Designed to Protect Dreamers." American Immigration Council. September 6, 2017. Accessed June 08, 2018.
- ACPA Latin@/x Network
- NACADA the Global Community for Academic Advising: Working with Undocumented, Dreamer, and Immigrant students
- NACADA: Building Undocumented Student Support in Higher Education Through a Culturally-Responsive Lens
- The Education Trust: Resources for Educators to Support Undocumented Students and Families
- United We Dream | The Largest Immigrant Youth-Led Network
- US Department of Education Resource Guide
- Center for American Progress Economic Update
- National Immigration Law Center DACA Information and Resources
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