Date October 4, 2019
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Brown urges Supreme Court to uphold DACA to benefit students, universities, nation

With references to Brown’s earlier advocacy on DACA, amicus brief argues that rescinding the program would deprive the nation of the contributions of DACA students, some of the most gifted and motivated young people in the world.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On Thursday, Oct. 3, Brown University joined 18 other prominent research universities in filing a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to remain in the country.

Filed in the case Department of Homeland Security et al. v. Regents of the University of California et al., the amicus brief argues in support of continuing the investment America has made in DACA students. At stake in the Supreme Court case is whether the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to rescind DACA is lawful — since January 2018, a nationwide injunction has allowed DACA to remain in effect, pending a decision.

The signatories argue that rescinding the DACA program would impede the universities’ ability to advance their education and research missions, impose direct harm on current students and alumni, and deprive the nation of DACA students’ considerable talents.

“‘[L]ike their peers,’ the DACA students on amici’s campuses ‘are extraordinarily talented young people who... aspire to be leaders in public service, science, business, medicine and the arts,” the brief states. “They embody the drive and determination that has made the United States the most prosperous and innovative country in the world.’ And by virtue of DACA... these students have been able for the first time to access educational and life opportunities on nearly equal terms with their peers.”

At multiple points, the amicus brief references efforts at Brown, including the University’s consideration of how prospective students’ “unique talents, accomplishments, energy, curiosity, perspective and identity might weave into the ever-changing tapestry that is Brown” regardless of their socioeconomic and immigration status.

In arguing that rescinding DACA would deprive the nation of invaluable resources, the brief includes a passage from an August 2017 letter from Brown President Christina Paxson to U.S. President Donald J. Trump, in which Paxson urged Trump to preserve DACA. Paxson wrote, in part:

Generations of immigrants who have made America what it is today arrived here full of hope for what they could accomplish in a land of opportunity. They knew that it would take hard work, perseverance, grit and determination to succeed. Their hard work bound them to this nation that would become their home; their families became Americans.

These hard-working people built the businesses, civic organizations, schools and communities that thrive and flourish today, and this country was made better and stronger for their contributions. This is no less true for the individuals who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status that grants them the right to work and be educated in this country.

Consolidated within the Department of Homeland Security et al. v. Regents of the University of California et al. case are two others related to DACA, including one filed by Princeton University, Microsoft and a Princeton graduate, who challenged the government’s termination of DACA.

Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12, 2019.

Brown filed the brief jointly with the following colleges and universities: California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis and Yale University.