Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration’s intent to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, on Tuesday.
Over the last few days, many community members had been anticipating that Trump would announce his decision to cut the program Tuesday, after promising to do so throughout his campaign. The policy was introduced in 2012 by former president Barack Obama, and it permits undocumented people who entered the United States as minors to defer deportation for a renewable two-year period and to obtain a work permit.
Sessions announced that the government will no longer accept new applications for the program after Tuesday. They added, however, that undocumented individuals currently using the program will not be immediately affected by the ending of this program.
UC President Janet Napolitano, who formally initiated DACA as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security under Obama, released an emailed statement Tuesday morning in response to Trump’s decisions. In her email, she called upon the U.S. Congress to “immediately pass bipartisan legislation that would provide a permanent solution for these young people.”
“I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s decision to effectively end the DACA program and uproot the lives of an estimated 800,000 Dreamers across the nation,” Napolitano said in her statement. “This backward-thinking, far-reaching move threatens to separate families and derail the futures of some of this country’s brightest young minds, thousands of whom currently attend or have graduated from the University of California.”
Napolitano emphasized that the UC system and the state of California would “stand together” in support of undocumented students. She said in her email that she was directing her advisory committee on undocumented students to determine how best to support and protect any UC students who rely on DACA over the next six months, and beyond.
Napolitano added that the UC system will continue to offer services to undocumented students, including offering legal services and continuing to allow California residents who are Dreamers to pay in-state tuition.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ also released an emailed statement Tuesday, in which she said she was disheartened by Trump’s order. She, too, encouraged the U.S. Congress to “move quickly to take action to provide protection for our undocumented students” that would help them achieve permanent residency and eventually citizenship.
“We are heartbroken for our undocumented immigrant communities,” Christ said in her statement. “At a time when our campus and community values are being challenged by the prevailing national rhetoric and policy making, we must deepen our resolve and commitment to our principles and to each other. … As a campus we are all inextricably intertwined; may this moment help us remember our shared humanity. Now more than ever, we stand with our young undocumented scholars at Berkeley and beyond.”