UC Sues Trump Administration Over DACA Repeal

September 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The University of California on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of the college system and its students, including those at its Los Angeles and Irvine campuses, by rescinding the DACA program on “nothing more than unreasoned executive whim,” and a city of Los Angeles councilman introduced a motion directing the city attorney to either file his own lawsuit or join one planned by the state of California which was announced Wednesday by Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program protects immigrants who were brought to the country illegally when they were children to safely live, work and study without fear of deportation.

The UC’s lawsuit filed in San Francisco against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its acting secretary, Elaine Duke, is the first to be filed by a university seeking to stop the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program, which currently protects over 800,000 undocumented young people. The lawsuit alleges the Trump administration failed to provide proper notice to the impacted population as required by law.

”As a result of the defendants’ actions, the Dreamers face expulsion from the only country that they call home, based on nothing more than unreasoned executive whim,” the complaint reads. UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012, setting in place a rigorous application and security review process, according to the lawsuit.

UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012. (New America Media)

UC President Janet Napolitano, who was secretary of DHS from 2009 to 2013, spearheaded the Obama administration’s creation of the DACA program in 2012. (New America Media)

Applicants for DACA were only approved if they were in or had graduated from high school or college, or were in the military, or an honorably discharged veteran They cannot have been convicted of a felony or major misdemeanor or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. “Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, especially not the very agency that I led,” Napolitano said in a statement released by the UC. “It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community. They represent the best of who we are — hard working, resilient and motivated high achievers. To arbitrarily and capriciously end the DACA program, which benefits our country as a whole, is not only unlawful, it is contrary to our national values and bad policy.”

The lawsuit asks the court to set aside the Trump administration’s rescission of DACA because it is “unconstitutional, unjust, and unlawful.”

The UC system, including UCLA and UC Irvine, has roughly 4,000 undocumented students, a substantial number of whom are part of DACA, as well as teachers, researchers and health care providers who are DACA recipients, according to UC.

Roughly 200,000 of the 800,000 DACA recipients in the country live in California, and it is believed that about 100,000 live in the Los Angeles area.

“These Dreamers’ were brought here as children and have proven themselves to be lawful residents contributing to the social fabric and diversity of the United States,” states the motion introduced by L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar that instructs City Attorney Mike Feuer to pursue legal action on behalf of the city.

When asked to comment on the motion, Feuer’s spokesman Rob Wilcox said, “Our office is already in discussions with other government entities on how best to maximize our impact on fighting the removal of DACA.”

Fifteen states filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the end of the DACA program, but Becerra said California was planning its own suit because it is disproportionately harmed by the action.

As Nov. 30 Deadline Looms, UC Pres. Calls on Students to Apply

November 19, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

There’s still time and many good reasons to apply for admission to a UC campus, University of California President Janet Napolitano said during a meeting last week in Los Angeles with ethnic media journalists.

We have to “debunk” the myths and “incorrect assumptions” students have that keep them from applying to a UC school, Napolitano told journalists attending the Nov. 10 meeting organized by New America Media.

Napolitano is pushing a plan in increase the number of California residents admitted to UC schools by 5,000 to 10,000 over the next three years, while simultaneously decreasing the number of out-of-state and foreign students. She hopes the plan will translate into a larger number of Latino and African American students system wide, but acknowledged more work needs to be done to convince students of color that California’s 4-year universities are both accessible and affordable.

“We have to blow a hole” in the misconception many students have that they they can’t afford to attend a UC, or that if they do attend they will graduate with a lot of debt, Napolitano said.

In reality, students from families with less than $85,000 a year in income pay nothing, and half of all student who graduate leave without any debt, she said.

While there is still room for improvement, according to Napolitano, the number of Latinos admitted to the UC system has gone up significantly and reached 22% this year. The increases can in large part be attributed to the larger number of students applying, she said. It’s also a factor of more people, education groups and activists pushing students to take the a-g courses needed to gain admission, she added.

The picture in the African American community, however, is far from rosy. Only 4% of UC students are African American. Napolitano said the University of California is stepping up outreach in the community to raise black enrollment. She encouraged the journalists to help get the word out.

Proposition 209, passed by voters in 1996, prohibits using race or ethnicity to qualify students for admission, so the UC has adopted other evaluation criteria that is more holistic and looks at things like a student’s socio-economic background, SAT scores, gpa, difficulty of courses taken and profile of the high school attended.

The top 12% of students are guaranteed admission to at least one of the 10 UC schools. It may not be UCLA or UC Berkeley, the most competitive campuses in the system, but they will be admitted, she said.

To apply for admission, visit http://start.universityofcalifornia.edu.

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