Penn State reaffirms support as DACA future remains unknown

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa – In recent weeks, Congress failed to pass a new bipartisan immigration plan that addresses the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program’s future remains unclear, as a series of government efforts and bills to find a permanent legislative solution for DACA have been ineffective. DACA, in the past, has provided an avenue for certain immigrants who were brought to the country as children to remain in the U.S. 

Penn State is aware that the unknown and time-sensitive nature of this issue – and its potential impact for those on our campuses and across the country – is concerning for many in the University community, and its leadership has been actively advocating on behalf of students. As this critical issue unfolds, Penn State will continue to monitor this situation closely and provide resources for students. The Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic within Penn State Law also offers resources.

“Penn State will remain actively engaged, as we have been for more than a year, to support a permanent legislative solution that will allow all DACA beneficiaries to maintain their current status and complete their degrees,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “As I have expressed many times, every student at this University has earned the right to be here based on their academic talent and hard work. Penn State is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment that provides all students with equal opportunities to a world-class education regardless of their country of origin or nationality.”

In September 2017, the Department of Homeland Security announced that DACA would be phased out beginning in March 2018. In January, a federal district court in California temporarily blocked efforts to end DACA and ordered the Department of Homeland Security to resume receiving DACA renewal applications from those already in the program. In February, a federal district court in New York issued a similar nationwide injunction. The Department of Justice has since appealed the rulings to the Supreme Court, and the March expiration date has been temporarily delayed.

Ultimately, Congress is responsible for finding a permanent legislative solution for the nearly 800,000 current DACA recipients. During the week of Feb. 14, the U.S. Senate debated numerous proposals surrounding immigration including DACA. Unfortunately, no proposal garnered the necessary votes to pass. Some senators have pledged to introduce new bills that would create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. It’s also a possibility that immigration topics (like DACA and border wall funding) may be part of upcoming negotiations to avoid a federal government shutdown by March 23. 

“Over the past 15 months, Penn State leaders – frequently partnering with other universities and higher education organizations – have formally petitioned Congress several times to address DACA and ensure that students across the country can continue to be outstanding contributors to our universities, communities and country,” said Zack Moore, vice president for Government and Community Relations. “We know this topic is concerning for many, and the University has strived to maintain an open line of communication with our community regarding our advocacy efforts and the resources available to students, faculty and staff.”

As part of ongoing advocacy activity at the state and federal levels, Penn State:

“As educational leaders, we are committed to providing equal opportunity for all students to pursue their learning and life goals. Providing a permanent legal solution for these individuals is both a moral imperative and a national necessity if our nation is to live up to the ideals we espouse. As a country, we should not break the promise made to DACA participants, and we should not tarnish the bright American promise of opportunity,” states a letter to Congress from Penn State and other Association of American Universities members in September 2017.   

As the federal government works toward a resolution on DACA, Penn State, as stated previously, will continue to provide resources to support students, faculty and staff:

For the latest updates related to this important topic and its potential impact on the University community, visit news.psu.edu.

Last Updated February 22, 2018