DACA Rescission "a Terrible Blow" to Underrepresented Students

September 5, 2017

By Carrie Warick, Director of Policy and Advocacy 

Today the Trump Administration, through a statement delivered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced that the White House would terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that allows almost 800,000 young people to live, work, and go to school in the United States without fear of deportation due to their lack of legal status. The rescission of this program will officially take place on March 5, 2018, which Sessions said “will enable the Department of Homeland Security to conduct an orderly change and fulfill a desire of this administration to create a time period for Congress to act should it so choose.” 

The National College Access Network and 11 of our members joined The Education Trust in a letter imploring the president not to end this program, which has allowed students across our approximately 400 member organizations to continue their educational paths for the last five years. Now that the Administration has acted, NCAN strongly urges Congress to immediately begin work on a legislative solution that honors the promise made to these young people five years ago.  

Since Election Day, NCAN members have voiced their concerns that the DACA program would end and create a terrible blow to the students they serve.

"The Denver Scholarship Foundation’s mission is that all students attending Denver’s public schools earn a college degree or certificate," said Nathaniel Easley, an NCAN board member and CEO of NCAN member Denver Scholarship Foundation. "Since President Obama issued the DACA Executive Order in 2012, Denver Scholarship has invested more than $1.1 million in scholarship support for 247 DACA Scholars. Bucking incredible odds, 80 percent of our DACA Scholars are succeeding in college. In light of today’s unfortunate announcement that the Trump administration will end DACA, and given our unshakable commitment to Denver’s DACA students, we call on Congress to act immediately to pass the bipartisan Dream Act.”

Twenty-five percent percent of students served by the county-wide Southern California College Access Network have DACA status, said Alison De Lucca said, executive director of that Los Angeles-based NCAN member. Organizations in the Lone Star State also lamented the development.

"Today's announcement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions represents a disappointing setback for our collective march to increase college enrollment and graduation rates throughout the country," said Austin Buchan, CEO of NCAN member College Forward in Austin, TX. "In Texas alone, an estimated 250,000 hard-working students will face yet another set of challenges on their road to a postsecondary credential. We anticipate today's decision will take a serious emotional toll on all those affected, as thousands of young Texan students once again confront an uncertain future. Our attention now turns to the six-month deadline imposed by the White House on Congress to pass legislation that ensures long-term success for America's 'Dreamers'."

The details of the “phase-out” are available here from the Department of Homeland Security. No new applications that are not already complete, accepted by DHS as complete, and pending will be reviewed after today, Sept 5. Current DACA recipients with a permit that expires before March 5 will still be allowed to apply for a renewal; however, they must have a completed renewal application on file by Oct. 5, 2017. No valid DACA permits or Employment Authorization Documents will be revoked. They will expire on their original expiration date if it is outside of the remaining renewal window and Congress does not take action.  

"Our first priority, and the priority we urge everyone in this region to adopt, is to extend the kind of support that our government evidently will not provide," said Faith Sandler, executive director of NCAN member The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis. "We will enure that our students and their families know that this decision does not change anything about our support of them. While our advocacy team navigates strategy for the national debate to unfold in the coming months, we will also fortify our work here, at home."

Leading up to the announcement this morning, President Trump tweeted, "Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!" On the campaign trail, Trump promised to rescind DACA and expel every illegal immigrant. Since becoming president, he has shown more ambiguity on the issue, frequently saying he wants to treat Dreamers “with heart.” The administration has said that this phase-out is intended to give Congress time to enact legislation before the March 5 deadline.

For NCAN members looking for more resources, a coalition led by United We Dream and the National Education Association has shared these state-by-state fact sheets. Additionally, NEA is running a call line asking individuals to call their Members of Congress to urge them to protect Dreamers. You can reach your members of Congress by dialing 1-855-764-1010. Also, the National Latino Education Network is posting updates to its DefendDACA.com website, which includes a mental health toolkit. And United We Dream shared "5 Things to know about Trump's announcement to end DACA."

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