The recent Court of Appeals DACA decision
Yesterday, a federal appeals court ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy violates U.S. immigration law. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded the Obama Administration did not have the legal authority to create DACA in 2012, and it affirmed an earlier ruling that barred the current administration from enrolling any new immigrants in the program.
Despite the decision, the court did not order DACA to be shut down or put a stop to renewal application processing. One bit of positive news is that an earlier order remains in place leaving the policy intact for current beneficiaries. The federal government, however, is prohibited from approving first-time DACA applications.
This decision is deeply disappointing. Please remember that the doors of Cal State Long Beach remain open to eligible undocumented students – they are welcome and wanted at The Beach. These students are important and vital members of our campus community, and our campus remains committed to every student who has met our rigorous standards for admission and retention.
This latest decision is not good for our country or our state. The loss of economic power, cultural richness, and personal security is devastating. The driving purpose behind DACA is to provide eligible youth protection from deportation and a legal work permit. This allows these young “Dreamers” — most often brought to the U.S. as small children — to obtain an education, work in crucial industries, and serve in the U.S. military.
I have witnessed how the legal and legislative back-and-forth over the DACA program has caused unnecessary anxiety for our Dreamers and how our Dreamer alumni have made significant contributions in many professional fields. Congress can pass legislation that both provides Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship and legally establishes a DACA-like program available to others who were brought to the U.S. as children.
If you are an undocumented student, there are campus services available to you. A first stop should be our Dreamers Success Center. From there, you can be referred for counseling, food and housing support, legal, and other services.
Fair and comprehensive immigration reform is one of my top priorities in choosing whom I will vote for during the midterm elections. If you are eligible to vote, please study the issues, debate them, and vote accordingly. If you cannot yet vote, become involved with the campaigns of candidates who support your position on issues, and provide information to our current representatives in Congress about how you, as an undocumented person, are contributing to your state and nation.
We stand with all Beach students, and we are in it for as long as it takes.
Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D.