June 18, 2020
To the UC community:
I write to you on a historic day for the University of California, for our nation, and for the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients across the country who live, work, and study in our communities.
UC was the first university in the nation to file a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s proposed rescission of DACA. Over the past three years, we have worked together to advance our case through the courts and to advocate for DACA recipients on every front. And today, our collective efforts paid off. I applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the administration’s arbitrary attempt to end a policy that has enabled some 700,000 immigrants – brought to the U.S. as children – to live and work in the only country they know as home.
Today, I send my sincerest thanks to the four UC declarants who made our case possible, all of the other plaintiffs who took a risk by stepping forward, the legal team at Covington & Burling for providing pro bono support, and all of you for standing with us in support of undocumented members of the UC community.
As the president of the University of California for nearly seven years, I’ve heard from many students, staff, and their families about the impact of DACA on their lives. DACA recipients in the UC community come from a wide range of countries, yet many of them shared similar stories: the initial joy and relief of being able to study and work in this country legally, without fear of deportation; the despair of learning that their immigration status might keep them from pursuing academic or professional opportunities if DACA protections are rescinded; and the anxiety about whether their DACA application would be used against them or their loved ones.
These people – their hopes and their potential – were at the heart of the University’s lawsuit challenging the rescission of DACA. At every step in our case, we were acutely aware of the tangible, harmful impacts of ending the DACA policy on the lives of these individuals and their families, and on the communities where they are valued contributors.
Today’s decision is a hard-won victory for these DACA recipients, their families, and our whole community. It is a victory for justice and due process. And it is a victory for what is legal, and what is right.
I’m hopeful that with the court’s action today, DACA recipients can finally have the security of knowing that their lives won’t be upended on a whim. But it’s also important to remember that more work remains to be done, and we need you to stand with us.
We must speak with one voice in calling on Congress to pass legislation to permanently protect DACA recipients and provide a path to citizenship. We must stand together to demand comprehensive immigration reform that would bring stability and certainty to families, workers, businesses, and communities across the nation. And we must speak out for our most fundamental values of diversity, inclusion, compassion, and justice.
At the University of California, we will continue to vigorously defend the privacy and civil rights of undocumented students and all of our community members, and to provide free legal services through the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and dedicated undocumented student centers on our campuses.
UC will never remain silent when unlawful actions threaten our students and community members. We are so grateful for all of you who have joined with us to ensure that UC remains a safe and welcoming place – and a beacon of opportunity – for all.