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University leadership’s statement of support for DACA students

We are closely following possible changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Last week, the Biden administration issued rules to strengthen the legal underpinnings of the program, which grants undocumented young people work authorizations and protections from deportation. We continue to closely watch for a ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard a case in July bought by the state of Texas challenging the legality of the DACA program. We anticipate that any court ruling on the DACA program likely will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The yearslong uncertainty has plunged many in our campus community into destabilizing fear for their own futures at the University of Utah and the futures of their friends and family members. Many DACA students come from “mixed-status” families, where some have legal protections to remain in this country and others do not. The consequences of the continued uncertainty can be very difficult for these families. Without the protections provided by DACA, many face the real threat of being unable to study and work in this country, and possible deportation to countries they left as children.

DACA was introduced as an executive order in 2012 to protect immigrants who came to the United States as children and allows them to work legally, obtain a driver’s license and invest in our economic workforce. Since that time, nearly 800,000 young people have benefited from the program, including hundreds of University of Utah students. Having a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus is a core value at the University of Utah, and we welcome students from around the world. Including a broad spectrum of experiences and perspectives makes the college experience richer for all of us.

Let us be clear: The University of Utah is committed to our undocumented students, with or without DACA. While these protections may be in a state of limbo, pending action from Congress, our commitment to our students is steadfast. Without the ability to work, our DACA students will need assistance with covering school expenses and basic needs. The university will gather the resources necessary to ensure these students are able to continue their education. While undocumented and DACA students will continue to be supported throughout our campus, the U’s Dream Center will work holistically with undocumented students and mixed-status families to provide support from college access to graduation and beyond. That will not change.

We are a state institution and are required to follow federal and state laws. At the same time, we will continue to do everything in our power to help and protect our students. We will evaluate both the White House’s administrative rules and any court rulings to determine whether they will have an impact on existing Utah law. As the legal landscape surrounding DACA changes, we will share what we learn with those impacted and offer resources in support.

Resources

The U’s Dream Center provides support to undocumented students and their families by facilitating access to higher education, financial aid, specialized mentoring and career counseling.

Resources include:

If you have questions or need support, please do not hesitate to contact the center at dream@utah.edu or 801-581-3470.

If you know of anyone who would like to make a donation to support Dreamers in their pursuit of education, please direct them here.

If you would like to encourage our representatives and senators to support DACA, you can find their contact information here.

We stand behind investing in these young people, who are such a vital part of the University of Utah community.