All eight of Nevada’s higher education institutions are among the 165 private and public colleges and universities nationwide that have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to protect an Obama-era program that protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Nevada, Reno and other Nevada institutions joined in an brief filed this month arguing that rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would deprive colleges and universities of a “remarkable group of young people” who contribute to the school’s communities.
“These extraordinary young people should be cherished and celebrated, so that they can achieve their dreams and contribute to the fullest for our country,” the brief states. “Banishing them once more to immigration limbo — a predicament they had no part in creating — is not merely cruel, but irrational.”
DACA was created by executive order in 2012, and since the fall of 2017, the White House has sought to end the program, which covers approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, often called dreamers.
In the legal brief, the colleges and universities called the move to end DACA a “misguided, arbitrary and capricious decision” that would not only harm the life prospects of the institution’s students and alumni but adversely affect the nation’s higher education institutions by undermining years of investments made by colleges and universities to support DACA recipients.
“American colleges and universities have benefited immeasurably from DACA,” the brief states. “DACA recipients serve as the presidents and vice-presidents of student governments, publish research in top academic journals, innovate and apply for patents, earn inclusion on the Dean’s List, graduate summa cum laude, and serve as tutors and research assistants.”
Based on 2017 American Community Survey data, the Center for America Progress estimates that there are a total of 12,280 DACA recipients in Nevada whose average year of arrival was 1999 at 7 years old. The number of U.S born children of DACA recipients in Nevada is around 4,600.
In November the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on a series of consolidated cases related to the termination of DACA and determine whether the administration’s rescission of DACA was lawful.
For now, immigrant youth who were granted benefits under DACA by 2017 are allowed to continue applying for DACA renewal, but no new applications are being accepted, even if the eligibility requirements are met.
“DACA is enlightened and humane; it represents the very best of America. It provides legal certainty for a generation of hard-working, high-achieving, and determined young people who love this country and were raised here,” the brief concludes.