On August 3 a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot eliminate DACA, the program that has allowed young immigrants to stay in the country without being deported. The ruling was a victory for Princeton University and Microsoft, which had sued the government to prevent the program from being eliminated.

Last year the Trump administration said it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has shielded around 700,000 undocumented immigrants who had been brought to America as children. The decision has faced a plethora of ongoing legal challenges, and could be headed to the Supreme Court if the government appeals the decision.

Princeton president Christopher L. Eisgruber said in a prepared statement that he was “very pleased that the court today reaffirmed its ruling that the government’s termination of the DACA program ‘was unlawful and must be set aside.’ As the court noted, it ‘sees no reason to change its earlier determination that DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious.’”

D.C. District Judge John Bates previously ordered the Trump administration to continue the program for 90 days while giving the government a chance to provide a rationale for rescinding it. In his latest ruling, Bates said the government had failed to give a rational explanation for terminating the program.

It’s no coincident that Princeton and Microsoft were the ones to file the lawsuit, as the decision to end DACA was wildly unpopular with colleges and tech companies, both of which rely on foreign-born talent to operate. The University of California also filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security over DACA.

Princeton had sued to stop the termination of the DACA program on grounds that the university would lose critical members of its student body. A Princeton undergraduate, Maria de la Cruz Perales Sanchez, a DACA beneficiary, is also a party to the suit.
Another student, Karina Aguilar Guerrero (Class of 2020) is a participant in the DACA program and is part of a team of Princeton students that has started HomeWorks, a nonprofit group that helps underprivileged students in Trenton, and which is making presentations of its work next week (see story, page 5, on the Keller Center eLab program). Aguilar Guerrero was born in Mexicali, Mexico.

“[Being undocumented] pushed me to try harder to do my best in school, get involved, get into sports and I think that also definitely helped me when it came to applying to Princeton,” Aguilar Guerrero said in a 2017 interview with Higher Ed Today. “I knew there were going to be obstacles in the way when I wanted to go to school. We deserve to feel safe and secure because we are humans and we need to be seen that way.”

Princeton University, 1 Nassau Hall, Princeton 08544. 609-258-3000. Christopher Eisgruber, president. www.princeton.edu.

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