Emory Files Amicus Brief Against DACA Repeal

Emory, along with 18 other universities, filed an amicus curiae brief Nov. 1 challenging the September rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The 19-page brief, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, argues that DACA students enrolled in the 19 institutions are “some of the most gifted and motivated young people in the world,” adding DACA’s rescission would deprive the nation of DACA recipients’ talents.

Established in 2012 via former President Barack Obama’s executive order, DACA conferred a temporary immigration benefit granted to some undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before their 16th birthday. The program offers a work permit and renewable two-year period of deportation protection.

Under the terms of the rescission, individuals with DACA status could lose their immigration benefits as early as March 6, 2018, although some applied for a two-year extension before the October 2017 deadline for renewal, according to The New York Times.

The plaintiffs of the lawsuit, including the states of California, Maine and Maryland, are seeking provisional relief by returning the program to the status quo prior to the rescission of DACA while legal motions proceed. If the plaintiffs’ requests are granted by the court, then the court could maintain DACA pending a final court ruling.

Repealing DACA “deters young people from pursuing higher education,” the amicus brief reads. “The government’s action therefore threatens amici’s ability to attract and educate the most talented individuals and so undermines their educational missions.”

The brief goes on to assert that DACA recipients are American.

“[They] have the skills to give back — in ways big and small — to the country that raised them.” Repealing DACA, the brief argues, “forces future scholars, innovators and leaders to choose between withdrawing to the margins of our society and national economy or returning to countries that they have never called home.”

President Donald J. Trump told Senate Republicans Nov. 2 that DACA should not be a part of the 2018 spending bill, according to Politico.

The brief comes nearly two months after University President Claire E. Sterk and 56 other university presidents sent a letter to congressional leaders urging Congress to act immediately on adopting new immigration legislation.

The brief was filed jointly with all eight Ivy League institutions as well as Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.), University of Chicago, Duke University (N.C.), Georgetown University University (D.C.), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University (Ill.), Stanford University (Calif.), Vanderbilt University (Tenn.), California Institute of Technology, Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) and George Washington University (D.C.).

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