DACA work permits won't be prematurely terminated; UConn warns students to monitor closely

Alison Martinez-Carrasco (middle) walks in front of the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut during a rally supporting the Afford to Dream campaign in 2014. (Courtesy/Morty Ortega)

Alison Martinez-Carrasco (middle) walks in front of the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut during a rally supporting the Afford to Dream campaign in 2014. (Courtesy/Morty Ortega)

In light of the Trump Administration's decision to not terminate work permits given through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program prior to their current expiration dates, the University of Connecticut recommended that students closely monitor developments related to their employment authorization.

“In the event that DACA students lose employment authorization, UConn will take reasonable steps to accommodate affected students in the completion of their studies or explore alternate requirements or courses of study as appropriate,” a statement on UConn’s website said.

The statement also said if DACA graduate students were to lose their employment authorization, they could not continue to hold paid Graduate Assistantship positions with UConn.

UConn does not collect or retain information on undocumented students’ immigration status, and will continue to admit academically qualified students regardless of their immigration status, according to a letter sent out by president Susan Herbst last December.

According to a New York Times article, the program protects immigrants who entered the United States when they were young children, by preventing them from being deported later in life. It also provides them with work permits so they can find legal employment.

“The announcement that DACA is safe for now is a testament to the organizing and power of the immigrant youth movement. This announcement highlights the clear moral and economic imperative that our leaders have to protect DACA,” said Lucas Codognolla, Executive Director for CT Students for a Dream and a DACA recipient.

However, according to the New York Times article, White House officials said on June 16 that President Trump had not yet made a decision about the long-term fate of the program. The officials also said that Trump might still follow through on a campaign pledge to take away work permits from the immigrants or deport them.

The Department of Homeland Security also announced recently that it will repeal the memo for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). This memo aimed to give DACA protections to undocumented parents of United States citizens.

“DAPA and DACA, which would have protected our immigrant parents, were also rescinded yesterday. Trump’s protection of DACA rings hollow, because we see our community living in fear every day,” Codognolla said.

Angry Idrovo, Undocumented Community and Campaign Organizer for CT Students for a Dream, said that many people have contacted the organization in fear that DACA is no longer in effect after learning that the DAPA memo was rescinded.

“Millions of undocumented immigrants, including myself and my family…will continue to live in fear and at risk of deportation despite DACA,” Idrovo said.

Codognolla said that the DACA announcement should not be seen as symbolic of the Trump administration turning over a new leaf.

“Since the inauguration, DACA applications are at their lowest point ever. We’ve seen DACA eligible youth stalked and sent to detention camps, DACA youth get deported and DACA youth get their protections revoked because of traffic violations,” Codognolla said.


Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.