What Do Board Members Need to Know About DACA?
On Sept. 5, the Trump administration announced that it was rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Created by an Obama administration executive order in 2012, the program allows undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children by their parents to work and study legally in the United States.
The Trump administration’s decision, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, initiates a gradual wind-down of the program, giving Congress a six-month window to approve a permanent legislative solution codifying DACA into law or regulation. While congressional leaders have begun working together and coordinating with the Trump administration on a permanent legislative solution, there is mounting fear about what might happen if policymakers do not resolve this. On Sept. 14, AGB President Rick Legon joined AGB board officers in letters sent to both President Trump and congressional leaders, urging that a swift solution be found.
If Congress is unable to approve such legislation, the nearly 800,000 individuals living, working, and studying in the United States under this program will not be able to renew their permits and could face deportation. Under the DACA program, thousands of young undocumented immigrants have enrolled in and graduated from U.S. colleges and universities. Institutional leaders and governing board members must be sure that they understand the impact such an outcome would have on their institutions, and prepare their campuses for any consequences related to the rescinding of DACA.
To assist board members in thinking about the institutional impact of rescinding DACA, below are several questions for consideration and discussion:
- How will the decision to rescind DACA affect your institution’s ability to fulfill its mission? How will it impact your institution’s short- and long-term goals?
- How would the elimination of the DACA program affect institutional enrollment? How might it impact your institution’s bottom line (e.g., revenue losses from sources such as tuition)?
- How might your institution prepare for the changes that will occur if Congress fails to pass alternative legislation within the six-month time frame?
- How might institutional policies change to comply with local, state, and federal laws regarding immigration, specifically as they relate to DACA? Are there contradictions between state and federal laws regarding DACA? How will your institution navigate those complexities?
- How many students at your institution are registered under DACA? Are institutional leaders able to communicate with and provide guidance to these individuals?
- Could public reaction to the administration’s decision lead to campus unrest, and have institutional leaders developed contingency plans for such events?
- Has your board considered its own advocacy role related to the rescission of DACA?
In the coming weeks AGB will be working with the White House and Congress to find a permanent solution. For more information on DACA or other AGB advocacy initiatives, please contact Tim McDonough, AGB vice president for government and public affairs, at 202.296.8400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.