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Emerson Joins Amicus Brief Supporting “Dreamers”

Emerson College has joined nearly 50 colleges, universities, and community college districts in filing an amicus brief supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and its millions of “Dreamers.”

The brief was filed Wednesday, November 1, in U.S. District Court Northern District of California in the case of the Regents of the University of California vs. the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  The University of California Regents are challenging the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the DACA program.  

“Our College vigorously supports opportunities for DACA and other undocumented students to have access to the educational rights, privileges and benefits of all other students. The overwhelming majority of these students grew up in America for much of their lives,” said Emerson President Lee Pelton. “It is important that Emerson add its name to the amicus brief in this case defending DACA.”

On September 5, the administration announced it would rescind DACA, which President Barack Obama established by executive order in 2012 in order to allow Dreamers — undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children – to study and work without fear of deportation.

In the amicus brief, filed on behalf of the Institutions of Higher Education by Jenner & Block LLP, the institutions argue, among other things, that the Dreamers have been able to pursue higher education because of DACA; that institutions and society at large benefit “immeasurably” from Dreamers’ talent, hard work and perspectives; and that both Dreamers and the institutions will be harmed academically, culturally, and financially if undocumented students are forced to withdraw.

Pelton has been a vocal advocate of DACA, both on campus and in the wider community. On the same day that the administration said it would rescind the program, Pelton sent a letter to Emerson students, faculty, and staff reaffirming the College’s commitment to undocumented students.

Last month, the president signed on to the Dream Coalition, a national, bipartisan group of civic, community, and higher education leaders who pledge to advocate for and protect the Dreamers.

Other Boston-area schools to join the amicus brief include Boston University, Northeastern University, Brandeis University, and Wellesley College.

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