CSU joins amicus brief pressing Supreme Court to protect DACA

Samantha Ye

The Colorado State University system is one of 165 colleges and universities that have signed on to an amicus brief in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ahead of its U.S. Supreme Court hearing.  

The brief, filed Oct. 4, argues that DACA has allowed “tens of thousands of previously undocumented students to pursue higher education” who “contribute immeasurably” to the signing institutions, and thus the program should not be ended. 

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DACA is an American immigration policy that provides temporary protection and rights to residents who are undocumented and brought to the United States as children. It does not grant a path to citizenship.

The program was created in 2012 by the Barack Obama administration, and in 2017, the Donald Trump administration announced its end.

Supporters of DACA hold signs in support of DACA, and the rights of undocumented persons at Colorado State University
Supporters of DACA hold signs in support of DACA and the rights of undocumented persons at Colorado State University during a 2016 rally on the Plaza. (Forrest Czarnecki | The Collegian)

Several states have since filed lawsuits against what they claim is the unlawful termination of the program, according to the National Immigration Law Center. As a result, courts have issued injunctions against the termination, and DACA is still operating today. 

On Nov. 12, the U.S. Supreme Court will review the consolidated cases and determine whether the administration’s ending of DACA was lawful. 

The amicus brief that all three CSU branches signed onto was filed by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, a coalition of university presidents and chancellors focused on educating the public on immigration, according to the coalition’s website.

CSU Chancellor Tony Frank is part of this alliance. 

An amicus brief is a legal document submitted by non-litigants with a strong interest in the subject matter and intention to influence the court’s decision, according to the Legal Information Institute.

The universities argue that ending DACA would harm not only DACA recipients, but U.S. colleges and universities, who will lose important potential and current members of their academic communities. 

CSU students and community members participate in a DACA solidarity rally outside Senator Cory Gardner’s office shortly after President Donald Trump terminated the program. (Collegian File Photo)

At CSU, 189 students had DACA status when the program was first rescinded in Sept. 2017. 

“They, in many ways, embody the spirit of the land grant mission — to provide access to an excellent education to anyone with the ability and drive to earn it,” Frank wrote in an email at the time. “We are deeply concerned at the potential loss to our country and to these students personally if their educational dreams are cut short.”

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The University offers support services for DACA recipients and undocumented students on its website.

CSU students have talked about the stress of living with an uncertain future in DACA. Many have rallied for the program, with one student even getting arrested for her protesting in Washington, D.C. Another DACA student attended Trump’s 2018 State of the Union to show the president the faces of those whom his policies affect.

The amicus brief itself details the stories of a number of DACA recipients. 

“We should not be pushing them out of the country or returning them to a life in the shadows,” the brief reads. “As institutions of higher education, we see every day the achievement and potential of these young people, and we think it imperative for both us and them that they be allowed to remain here and live out their dreams.”

Samantha Ye can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samxye4.