Presidential seal

May 18, 2020

 

Dear SDSU Community,

My heart is deeply moved by today’s U.S. Supreme Court announcement that the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program was unlawful. This is an important program offering protection from deportation for many in our community and is hailed as an important human rights victory.

With this ruling, those who were brought to the U.S. without legal documentation as children remain able to apply to work and study in the U.S. legally. This ruling covers roughly 650,000 DACA recipients, “DREAMers” from across the nation, many of whom have lived for almost their entire lives in the U.S. As communities continue to cry out against racial and social injustice, today’s decision is victorious for us all, and especially for the 216,000 DACA-eligible immigrants enrolled in higher education.

At home and across the nation, this decision impacts our students and alumni. Many have earned advanced degrees, and are our colleagues and neighbors. Many others have launched organizations and started businesses in San Diego, and others are on the front lines of responding to the ongoing pandemic. DACA recipients are members of our community, and we celebrate with them today, along with their friends and family.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom shared: “Today’s decision is an important victory, for now, for the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers — including over 200,000 Californians — who contribute deeply to their communities each day. They are our neighbors, our coworkers and our friends, and in California, we will continue to have their backs. We need a permanent solution for undocumented Californians and acknowledge that a pathway to citizenship is not enough. This moment reminds us we are confronting the systemic injustice and racism that exists within our nation and institutions. We will fight for everyone to be treated with dignity and respect.”

With this message, I am also sharing the following timely guidance:

  • If you currently have DACA and your DACA status is set to expire before March 2021, you should follow the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) instructions on the time frame for renewing your DACA.

  • If you had DACA previously but it expired or was terminated, you are encouraged to seek an appointment with an experienced lawyer or contact SDSU’s the Undocumented Resource Area (URA) to inquire about accessing free legal services.

  • For those who have never had DACA in the past, in the next week we will have more clarity on any new application processes. We encourage those interested in preparing new DACA applications, or who have any questions regarding the DACA process, to consult with a lawyer or legal representative.

The DACA program is separate from the California Dream Act, which allows students interested in attending California colleges to apply for state financial aid.

Resources, Support Available

SDSU offers programs, including the Undocumented Resource Area (URA). URA provides to SDSU students, faculty and staff who are undocumented (including those currently with DACA) access to free legal services in partnership with the Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFSSD).

SDSU’s Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT) also connects students to emergency assistance for housing, food, employment and other needs. Students can request assistance on the ECRT site.

And the California State University system offers additional information, including details about free immigration legal services, mental health services, on its Resources for Undocumented Students website.

SDSU Stands with Our Undocumented Community

I cannot emphasize enough that, as a premier Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), SDSU stands with DACA recipients, our undocumented community, and their families. Higher education is a critical asset to address social and economic inequality, and our university commits our support, compassion and care for all those within our SDSU family.

I'd like to close with a reflection and with appreciation. I am not only heartened by today’s decision, but also, by the changes we are seeing in law enforcement in response to activism in support of the Black community and the Supreme Court ruling earlier this week banning employment discrimination aimed at those who are LGBTQ+. As we celebrate now, I keep a close reminder that the work in support of equity and opportunity — and even more victories — are before us.

Adela de la Torre, Ph.D.
San Diego State University President