Emerson College and more than 70 other member institutions of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration have signed onto an amicus brief filed Wednesday, April 11, supporting plaintiffs who are challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program.
The “friend of the court” brief presents evidence of the vital role DACA plays at the institutions and beyond, enabling thousands of “Dreamers,” previously undocumented students who were brought to the United States by their families as children, to pursue a college degree and contribute to their campuses, communities, and the nation.
The brief, filed in support of Batalla Vidal v. Trump in the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, also outlines the serious harm that would befall American colleges and universities, and the nation in general, if DACA were ended.
“Emerson strongly supports the opportunity of all immigrant and international students to have full access to the educational rights, benefits, and privileges available to students born in the United States,” President Lee Pelton said. “Every young person raised and educated at secondary schools in the United States, documented or not, deserves the chance to attend college if she or he wishes, to contribute to our wonderfully and increasingly diverse society.”
The brief states that DACA students “form a key part of our campus life and as institutions we benefit greatly from the energy and academic excellence they bring.” If DACA were to be rescinded, according to the brief, “it will also harm the country, which will be deprived of the many contributions Dreamers would otherwise be able to make.”
A court date to be heard has not yet been set.
In November 2017, Emerson joined close to 50 higher education institutions in filing an amicus brief supporting DACA in U.S. District Court Northern District of California (Regents of the University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security). In January, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered the government to maintain DACA until the case is decided. The government appealed the ruling; an oral argument in the appeal is scheduled for May.
In October 2017, Pelton signed on to the Dream Coalition, a national, bipartisan group of civic, community, and higher education leaders who pledge to support and protect the Dreamers.
Emerson and the other signatories to the Batalla Vidal amicus brief represent the broad coalition of institutions whose leaders are members of the Presidents’ Alliance. Located in communities spanning the political spectrum and ranging from urban centers to rural farm areas, these institutions teach and employ millions of people.