College and university leaders in California are calling on President-elect Donald Trump to reconsider ending a federal program that allows certain undocumented youths temporary reprieve from deportation and the opportunity to work.
Trump has said he plans to reverse President Barack Obama’s “unconstitutional” executive orders on his first day in office, which many believe will include the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
On Tuesday, University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy White and Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the chancellor-designate of California Community Colleges, sent a letter of concern to Trump praising DACA.
Under DACA, immigrants who were under 16 years old when they entered the country illegally before 2007 can receive work permits and immunity from deportation for two years on a renewable basis.
“These sons and daughters of undocumented immigrants are as American as any other child across the nation, in all but in the letter of the law,” the letter reads. “Some never even spoke the language of their native land. They do not represent a public safety threat. In fact, they represent some of the best our nation has to offer.”
The letter follows concern from students, immigration attorneys and public officials over the future of the information that immigrants willfully handed to the federal government to under DACA. Many worry that the feds could subpoena the information and use it to supplement Trump’s plan for mass deportations.
According to the letter, there are thousands of DACA students studying at each institution.
“They are constructive and contributing members of our communities,” the letter reads. “They should be able to pursue their dream of higher education without fear of being arrested, deported, or rounded up for just trying to learn.”