University joins legal challenge to DACA rollback

GW has joined 18 other universities in supporting a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to a University release Monday.

The program, initially launched under the Obama administration, granted temporary protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children and allowed them to work. GW and 18 institutions argued Wednesday in an amicus brief that the universities “have an interest in their undocumented students’ welfare and ability to obtain a full and complete higher education.”

The brief, a legal document filed by a party not directly connected to a case but who has a strong interest in the outcome, argues that ending DACA harms students and alumni at a university and prevents DACA recipients from “fully benefiting and contributing to” the universities.

“Indeed, ending DACA 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,” the document states. “Whatever they choose, their gifts and education are lost to this nation.”

Six peer institutions – including Duke, Emory and Northwestern universities – also signed on to the document, supporting a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s September decision to cancel the program and give Congress six months to pass a legislative replacement.

The brief was filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court, where six DACA recipients filed suit in September to block the Trump administration’s planned rollback of the program.

University President Thomas LeBlanc condemned Trump’s decision at the time. The University also brought in lawyers from an outside immigration firm – McCandlish Holton – to provide free legal advice to affected students and later held an information session for undocumented students on campus.

This is the second amicus brief the University has participated in against a Trump administration policy. In March officials backed a legal argument against an executive order that temporarily banned travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority nations.

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