With DACA’s Future in Question, NACAC Speaks Out in Support of the Program

On September 5, the Trump administration stirred controversy by announcing a decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

In a long line of protests, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) was one of the first organizations to fervently oppose this action.

“DACA students and other undocumented young people contribute to this country’s vibrant educational, political, economic, and cultural life,” said NACAC in a statement.

NACAC is an organization that helps young students make choices about higher education. It has committed itself to raising awareness for undocumented youth in the United States for around two decades.

NACAC CEO Joyce Smith said “As a community of counseling professionals, we will do everything within our power to support DACA-eligible and other undocumented students.”

Introduced by the Obama administration in 2012, the DACA program protects qualifying undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation and allows them to work, attend school legally, and get a driver’s license. If DACA is terminated, some of the 800,000 adults who qualify for the program will be eligible for deportation.

However, after the backlash from such prominent organizations, prestigious universities, company CEOs, and a number of others against the decision to end the program, Trump is seemingly reconsidering the choice. Today, CNN released the story “Trump, Dems move closer to deal on DACA,” reporting that the president discussed a deal with Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Trump has denied that any deal was made, he has publicly stated that both parties are close to coming to an agreement.

But although a compromise may be near, many are still fighting to ensure DACA protections remain in place.

Today at the NACAC 2017 annual conference, Smith reiterated her support of DACA, calling on the college counselors and university admissions officers in the audience to support the program.

According to “5 Questions About DACA Answered” by NPR, the deportations could start in six months — as early as March — if Congress doesn’t find a different and more permanent solution to DACA.

The same article provided some basic facts on how to qualify for the DACA program. DACA applicants had to:

  • Be younger than 31 years old when the program began
  • Have lived in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007, with proof
  • Have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, with proof
  • Have clean criminal records
  • Be enrolled in high school or college, or serve in the military

Despite those requirements, President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions condemned the program, and ultimately decided to end it.

“Mr. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the change at the Justice Department, both used the aggrieved language of anti-immigrant activists, arguing that those in the country illegally are lawbreakers who hurt native-born Americans by usurping their jobs and pushing down wages,” said “Trump Moves to End DACA and Calls on Congress to Act” by the New York Times.

The ending of DACA “will cost our country $460.3 billion in GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions,” said an Emerson Collective newsletter. The organization, like NACAC, denounced the Trump administration’s move to end DACA.

Along with social justice- and education-related organizations, many colleges and companies have publicly released statements in opposition of DACA’s ending.

Colleges whose administrators have spoken out, according to “What Major Universities Had to Say About Trump’s Move to Roll Back DACA” by the Chronicle and “13 Colleges That Attacked Trump For Ending DACA” by the Daily Wire:

  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Colorado
  • Harvard University
  • University of Washington
  • Columbia University
  • University of Texas
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Massachusetts
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Amherst College
  • Indiana University

Tech company leaders who have banded together to speak out in opposition, according to “Here are the tech companies speaking out against a DACA repeal” by The Verge:

  • Nadella, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos
  • Apple CEO, Tim Cook
  • Box CEO, Aaron Levie
  • Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg
  • Uber CTO, Thuan Pham
  • Google CEO, Sundar Pichai
  • Hewlett CEO, Meg Whitman
  • Lyft co-founders, John Zimmer and Logan Green
  • Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings
  • Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey
  • Y Combinator President, Sam Altman

The National Review said in “States Sue Donald Trump Administration Over Ending DACA”  that the attorneys general of 15 states have filed a federal lawsuit against Trump and his administration over the recent decision to end DACA.

“The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia,” said the article, which then explained that California is not one of the states on the list because its attorney general, Xavier Becerra, is planning on filing a separate lawsuit against Trump.

Higher education institutions, organizations like NACAC, and cities and states nationwide oppose the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA because it hurts and scares the students who are protected under it. Time will only tell what consequences will affect education if DACA is actually terminated.

Elizabeth Hartel

Elizabeth Hartel

Elizabeth hails from New Jersey and studies journalism at Emerson College, where she works for two publications: a lifestyle magazine and a music magazine. In addition to education, she also enjoys writing about health and fitness and pop culture.