Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 and Microsoft President and University Trustee Brad Smith ’81 have filed a comment in support of the federal government’s latest proposal to preserve and strengthen the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, according to a statement released by the Office of Communications on Nov. 29.
DACA is a policy that provides relief from deportation and work authorization to around 800,000 young adults, known as “DREAMers” (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), who were brought to the United States as children.
In a cover letter to the filing, Eisgruber and Smith encouraged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exercise its authority to establish “fair” rules that uphold lasting protections for DREAMers and take all actions appropriate to strengthen DACA. The two also push Congress to pass legislation that would provide permanent protection and a path to citizenship for these individuals.
“Legislative action is the only way to ensure the long-term protection that DREAMers deserve and require; enacting it would be just, humane, and beneficial to the national interest,” Eisgruber and Smith wrote.
This news comes after the University's recent successful Supreme Court case to preserve DACA. The case, filed jointly by the University, Microsoft, and Maria Perales Sanchez ’18, argued that DACA’s termination violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.
In the lawsuit, the University, Microsoft, and Sanchez asked: “for a declaration that the DACA program is lawful and constitutional, and for an injunction that both stops the administration from terminating DACA and prevents the government from using the information provided by Dreamers against them or for purposes of immigration enforcement.”
It also comes after Eisgruber, as well as over 400 university presidents, CEOs, and civic leaders, including Harvard President Lawrence Bacow and Former Bank of America CEO and Chairman Hugh McColl, signed a letter from the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration that urged the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers following Texas’ Court ruling to end DACA.
“For the past decade, Princeton and Microsoft have relied on the legal protections provided by the 2012 Napolitano Memorandum, as well as the work authorization for DREAMers that deferred action makes possible,” the cover letter to the filing said.
In 2017, Eisgruber sent a letter to Former President Trump, urging him to not repeal DACA, but rather, preserve it and defend the policy from any potential court challenges.
In 2019, Eisgruber and other presidents of New Jersey’s four-year colleges and universities sent a letter to the state’s Congressional delegation expressing concern to Congress about immigration delays, the challenges their institutions face in attracting and retaining international faculty, students, and staff, and its effects on DREAMers.
The University also remains committed to supporting DACA students. The University’s admission and financial aid policies are the same for DACA students as they are for all other students applying to the University, meeting full financial needs.
“At Princeton, DACA recipients have been among our most accomplished and respected students,” Eisgruber said in the cover letter in the Nov. 29 filing.
“They conduct research, earn academic honors, serve in leadership roles on campus, and otherwise help enhance our learning environment. The benefits bestowed by DACA allow our students to participate in all aspects of the university experience, including study abroad, internships, and university-related travel,” he continued.
Lia Opperman is a news contributor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @liamariaaaa on Instagram.