Updated 11/9/2018: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from Liliana Iglesias, an academic counselor and coordinator for the campus Undocumented Student Program.
The UC Office of the President, or UCOP, issued a statement in support of an appeals court decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program Thursday.
On Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that blocks the Trump administration from ending the program that protects immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation. In its statement, the UCOP encouraged all eligible recipients to renew their DACA grants immediately.
The case was brought on by the UC system. The UCOP statement said the UC is “proud to have taken the lead” as the first university to file a lawsuit challenging the government’s attempt to end DACA.
“Today’s decision is yet another strong message from our nation’s courts that the government’s attempt to rescind DACA was unlawful,” the statement said. “The government’s only justification for rescinding DACA — that the program itself is legally flawed — is unfounded.”
The University of California has been a long-standing advocate against the ending of DACA. According to a fact sheet published by the university, there are about 4,000 undocumented students studying at the UC.
The statement concludes by saying that UCOP believes that there should be an even more permanent protection plan, including a path to citizenship, available to DACA recipients. DACA recipients “deserve better than to see their life prospects rise and fall based on events in litigation,” the statement said.
Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said in response to the statement that Chancellor Carol Christ and her administration have long made clear UC Berkeley’s support for members of the campus community admitted to the United States under the DACA program. The campus stands in “complete agreement” with UCOP’s statement, Mogulof added.
“There is nothing new for us here,” Mogulof said. “It is a continuation of the status quo.”
Liliana Iglesias, an academic counselor and coordinator for the campus Undocumented Student Program, said the uncertainty of the trial’s results has led to “heightened anxiety” among DACA recipients before Thursday’s decision. She added that students can now continue to renew their applications.
Though the results of the trial are encouraging for DACA supporters, a lot of work still needs to be done, Iglesias said. Students cannot start new applications, meaning only previous DACA recipients will be eligible to apply, according to Iglesias. As a result, Iglesias said most DACA recipients will be graduating in the next couple of years, leaving few DACA recipients on campus.
“We won this battle, but the war is still going on, and it’s a big war, and we’re going to keep fighting it,” Iglesias said.