UConn, State Universities Join Lawsuit Against Trump Administration Over DACA

The state’s public universities have joined a lawsuit filed against the Trump administration over the announced termination of an Obama-era program that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

In an amicus brief, UConn and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system argue ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would harm the schools by forcing students who lose protection from deportation to leave.

“If DACA students are deported, forced to withdraw or leave the university, UConn will lose the tuition revenue that these students contribute,” UConn President Susan Herbst wrote in an affidavit. “This is a significant impact on the university.”

Immigration advocacy groups estimate there are about 10,000 DACA recipients in Connecticut, though its unknown how many are enrolled in the state’s public universities.

Mark Ojakian, president of the CSCU system, said ending DACA would have a “devastating impact” on some of the state’s brightest students.

“The fundamental responsibility of a public education institution is to foster learning, innovation, and strong communities to any student willing to put in the work to learn and achieve,” he said in a written statement. “We have and will continue to fight for DACA students in our CSCU community, in our state and across the country.”

The brief filed by UConn and CSCU mentions Anayancy Ramos, a student at Eastern Connecticut State University studying biology and computer science, who is undocumented.

“She notes that through DACA she’s been able to achieve an education and a future she never thought possible, but that those dreams will die if DACA forces her to retreat once more into the shadows,” lawyers for the universities wrote in court documents.

Connecticut has joined a similar lawsuit filed by states.

During the presidential campaign, President Donald Trump had promised to end the program, and he made good on that promise in September. But he gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution.

Republicans have ruled out addressing the future of DACA in a year-end spending bill.

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