DACA students won't be deported — for now

Dive Brief:

  • President Donald Trump will not be immediately rescinding the protections offered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children, although this could change in the long term, according to the New York Times. 
  • The program affects approximately 800,000 individuals in the country, often known as “Dreamers.” Many of these students have lived in the country for most of their lives, attending school and working here. 
  • Some are worried that those who are protected by the program may still be in danger of deportation, as recent policies have seen an increase in detentions, even in spite of DACA status. President Trump also recently ended a program intending to offer similar protection to Dreamers’ parents.

Dive Insight:

The decision to protect Dreamers is a spot of good news for colleges and universities which have mostly been challenged by negative potential consequences to the new administration and the current political climate, from proposed cuts in funding, to increased partisanship and an increase in racial incidents on campus, as well as a reported drop in enrollment at many universities by applicants from foreign countries. The news allows school administrators to work with Dreamers on applying to schools and accessing necessary aid; many Dreamers were previously anxious about taking steps that could help them attain education assistance from state or federal government because of their status. Though this decision seems to remove an immediate threat of deportation, it is unclear if Dreamers will be less reticent about being open about their status, as the President may change direction on this issue in the future, leaving Dreamers feeling like they may have unnecessarily exposed themselves to authorities.

Concerns among Dreamers that they might still be apprehended and deported could lead to a continuation of calls for colleges and universities to be considered “sanctuaries” for undocumented immigrants. Some K-12 district leaders are already defying federal immigration orders, risking the loss of federal funding, and college students are organizing to put pressure on administrators to declare their schools “sanctuary campuses.” Like the lower grades, colleges and universities risk state and federal funding cutbacks in retaliation; Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already threatened to penalize any campus that refuses to disclose immigration status information on students. 

Filed Under: Higher Ed K12 Policy & Regulation
Top image credit: Wikimedia Commons