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News Posted on September 6, 2017

King Hall Faculty Comment for Media on DACA Program Phase-out

UC Davis School of Law faculty commented for media on President Trump’s decision to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama administration program that allowed certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children to apply for temporary protection from deportation and work permits.

Professor Rose Cuison Villazor published an op-ed in the New York Times, writing that ending DACA protections raises many questions, including the issue of what the government will do with information that DACA program participants, known as “Dreamers,” provided  as part of their applications.

“Dreamers divulged information to the government, expecting that their information would not be shared,” writes Villazor. “The information includes not only potentially incriminating information like date of initial entry and length of stay in the United States, but also details like their names, addresses, school information and Social Security numbers — precisely what the government needs to locate and detain them quickly.”

Using such information against the Dreamers would amount to entrapment, Villazor writes, and “United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which administers DACA, should delete all their information.”

Commenting for the Los Angeles Times, María Blanco, Executive Director of the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center, offered hope that Congress could pass laws instituting similar protections for Dreamers during the six-month period between Trump’s announcement and the end of DACA.  "We have a very good shot at legislation in Congress and making that happen right away," Blanco said. "Students shouldn't do anything like quit school or their jobs.” Blanco will also do international interviews about DACA with radio programs in South Korea and Australia.

Dean Kevin R. Johnson provided commentary for media including the Daily Journal, Sacramento CBS affiliate KOVR-13, and San Francisco public radio station KALW.  In an op-ed published in the Daily Journal, he suggested that there may be a “silver lining” in Trump’s announcement that he would dismantle the program. 

“He is delaying the end of the program for six months. This gives Congress time to pass a law that would provide enduring protections for the Dreamers, the term used to refer to undocumented college students who have become a potent political force. And it even could spur more far-reaching immigration reform.”

Professor Holly S. Cooper, Co-director of the UC Davis School of Law Immigration Law Clinic, commented for media including the Davis Enterprise and Santa Barbara Independent on the DACA phase-out. In wide-ranging comments published in the Enterprise, Cooper talked about the multifaceted impacts of ending DACA, ranging from economic costs to Yolo County to the “emotional toll” felt by immigrants who experience “that feeling that people don’t want you here.”  One of the most important aspects of the DACA phase-out will be the inability of undocumented young people to get work permits, Cooper said.