Colorado State University System joins 165 schools urging U.S. Supreme Court to protect DACA

The Colorado State University System is one of 165 public and private universities and colleges from 32 states and the District of Columbia that have joined an amicus brief for the forthcoming Supreme Court case regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The brief was filed on Friday, Oct. 4.

On Nov. 12, the Court will hear oral arguments on a series of consolidated cases and determine whether the administration’s rescission of DACA was lawful.

DACA is an immigration option for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16 that has been in place since 2012. It provides temporary protection from deportation, work authorization, and the ability to apply for a Social Security number.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum in September 2017 ending the program; three nationwide injunctions have been issued by U.S. district courts against this action, and these legal challenges will be heard by the Supreme Court in November, with a decision expected no later than June 2020.

Rally at Supreme Court

Rally at Supreme Court in 2016. Photo by Madison Alder/Cronkite News

Amicus brief arguments

The brief argues that DACA enabled tens of thousands of undocumented students to pursue their education and thrive at both the colleges and universities listed in the brief and at higher education institutions across the country. Drawing from the direct experiences of the students and their institutions, the brief shows how DACA recipients contributed  immeasurably to their campuses, through academic achievements and co-curricular activities.

“The CSU System has a unique mission to provide access to education for anyone with the talent and drive to pursue it,” CSU System Chancellor Tony Frank said. “From CSU’s beginnings in the 19th century, that mission has opened the doors of opportunity to women and people of color, and people with no family history of higher education. Today, that mission extends to people brought to this country as children who have excelled here in our Colorado high schools and want to continue their education. We signed on to this amicus brief because our Board of Governors has taken a strong stand in support of educational access for DACA students, and as the brief states, we believe it has been an unmitigated good for this country and our universities.”

In defense of DACA’s continued existence, the brief argues that ending it will severely harm the life prospects of these students and alumni, adversely affect the nation’s higher education institutions, undermine the many years of investments that colleges and universities made to support DACA recipients, and sap higher education communities of needed talent, diversity, and leadership.

Amici from all over

Signers to the brief include large public universities such as CSU and private research universities, liberal arts colleges and community colleges, science, math, engineering institutions and faith-based institutions, located in urban centers, suburban communities, and rural farm areas throughout the country.

“Several weeks ago, we were proud to join institutions from across the country in signing a letter urging Congress to address the situation of Dreamers in a bipartisan manner, and now we are equally proud to have signed onto this amicus brief,” said CSU President Joyce McConnell.  “Both of these public statements exemplify our commitment to access for all to an excellent education and our determination to make all of our students feel welcomed and valued on our campuses.”

The nonpartisan  Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration coordinated the brief and the amici are represented by Perkins Coie.