The University of California is suing the Trump administration for rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, UC President Janet Napolitano announced Friday.
The suit filed in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security is the first from a university hoping to stop the administration’s decision to end the program, also known as DACA.
Napolitano said in a press conference Friday that the suit is based on the claims that the administration’s decision is not supported by reasoned decision making, that they did not follow necessary procedures and that the decision violates the due process of the university as well as its DACA-supported students and staff.
DACA recipients “really represent the spirit of the American dream,” Napolitano said. “And by its action the administration has dashed those dreams. We hope by this lawsuit to restore those dreams.”
The University of California has around 4,000 undocumented students, many whom are DACA recipients.
The DACA program protected nearly 800,000 people from immediate deportation who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The program also made them eligible for work permits. President Donald Trump announced his decision to end the program Tuesday, saying that the program would expire in six months and placing the onus on Congress to decide the fate of young undocumented immigrants.
The university’s lawsuit will not extend the deadlines implemented by the Trump administration for current DACA recipients, Napolitano said. She advised recipients whose registrations would expire before March 5 to apply for a renewal before October 5.
“Even under the current guidance being issued by the administration, we anticipate those [renewals] to be granted,” Napolitano said, adding she is not sure when the federal court will act on the suit, “but we do intend to press the court to move expeditiously.”
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed a separate lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday claiming that Trump’s decision to rescind DACA was unconstitutional. California was not one of those states, but Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office has said he plans to file a separate lawsuit due to the high number of DACA recipients in the state.
“Frankly I don’t know why California is not participating in the other lawsuit that the states have filed,” Napolitano said. “I think Attorney General Becerra obviously has good reasons and his own theory for how he will pursue DACA litigation. We made this decision independently of that and that’s why we haven’t had any conversations with him about it.”
Napolitano was the Secretary of Homeland Security under former President Barack Obama in 2012 when the DACA program was first announced and implemented.
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