As Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama, Janet Napolitano presided over the department that instituted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. As president of the University of California system since September 2013, Napolitano now finds herself in the unique position of suing the very department she led, the Department of Homeland Security, in the Northern District of California, in the hope of challenging the decision of President Trump’s administration to repeal DACA. After all, the repeal of DACA would impact around 4,000 undocumented University of California students. It’s no wonder the University of California schools are challenging the DACA repeal.
Why University of California Is Challenging DACA Repeal
Many leaders of highly selective colleges have voiced their opposition to the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. We previously shared with our readers quotes from the letters that Ivy League presidents sent to President Trump, urging him against ending this program that protects undocumented American young people. With so many young people of Mexican heritage in California in particular, some of whom are undocumented, the repeal of DACA would arguably impact the University of California more than most colleges across the land, as Janet Napolitano knows very well.
As reports Emil Guillermo for “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education,” in a piece entitled “Napolitano Welcomes Other Schools and Universities to Join DACA Lawsuit,” “‘Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, especially not the very agency I led,’ said Napolitano, who denied that being a former head represented any conflict of interest, or required her recusal. ‘It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community.’ According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, California is home to about 25 percent of the estimated 800,000 DACA recipients known as DREAMERS. Napolitano said her university system has 4,000 undocumented students, plus some staff members, many of whom are under DACA.”
Supporting University of California’s Challenge to DACA Repeal
It’s very nice that the leaders of many colleges across America have written letters to President Trump and his administration voicing their opposition to a repeal of DACA. But it’s quite another thing to file legal action against the United States government for placing these young people pursuing their educations in jeopardy, for causing them to worry every night if they’re going to have to leave the only country they’ve ever known to be home. We applaud the president of the University of California System for boldly filing legal action against the department she once led. There is no more appropriate figure than Janet Napolitano to file this action and it’s our hope that other colleges join the University of California’s suit with expedience.