UConn student opinions split as Supreme Court DACA decision looms

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., second from right, joined by, from left, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, carry a sign as they walk on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, following an event regarding the earlier oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the case of President Trump's decision to end the Obama-era, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), program. The DACA program sparked divided opinions among UConn students.  AP Photo/Susan Walsh

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., second from right, joined by, from left, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, carry a sign as they walk on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, following an event regarding the earlier oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the case of President Trump’s decision to end the Obama-era, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), program. The DACA program sparked divided opinions among UConn students. AP Photo/Susan Walsh

University of Connecticut students and Connecticut residents have divided opinions on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in light of the program’s constitutionality recently taken to the Supreme Court. 

While a ruling on the matter is not expected until spring 2020, the futures of the 4,000 DACA recipients currently living in Connecticut, and as many as 825,000 recipients nationwide, currently hang in the balance. 

CT Students for a Dream is lending their support to the national #HomeIsHere campaign dedicated to advocating for DACA and its recipients. The group, founded by undocumented students and allies, has been advocating for undocumented Connecticut residents since 2010.  

In a press release last week, CT Students for a Dream Executive Director and DACA recipient Lucas Codognolla was clear about his organization’s motivations for joining the #HomeIsHere campaign. 

“[President Trump] wants the Supreme Court to let him end DACA, and he wants to use the safety of immigrant youth as a bargaining chip to get more money for his racist wall and deportation force,” Codognolla said. “We’re not going to let that happen.” 

In 2018, former UConn President Susan Herbst was one of more than 500 college and university presidents nationwide to sign their name in a collective letter of support for DACA and its recipients. Herbst also enacted a policy of not recording or retaining information regarding the immigration status of undocumented UConn students. 

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[President Trump] wants the Supreme Court to let him end DACA, and he wants to use the safety of immigrant youth as a bargaining chip to get more money for his racist wall and deportation force.
— Lucas Codognolla, CT Students for a Dream Executive Director and DACA recipient

The DACA policy was enacted in 2012 by Barack Obama as a means to provide individuals who had been brought into the United States illegally at a young age a grace period from deportation and a path towards becoming eligible for a work permit, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. 

According to the New York Times, President Trump attempted to rescind DACA in 2017 but has since faced lawsuits challenging his right to do so. That case has now made its way to the Supreme Court, where oral arguments were heard on it on Nov. 12. 

Today, though it is unknown how many undocumented students currently attend UConn, the university’s students still have strong feelings regarding DACA and US immigration policies.  

“I think that [President Trump’s] plan is backwards, and I think DACA is a great initiative that Barack Obama started in 2012, and I can only say that I hope that the Supreme Court doesn’t repeal it,” seventh-semester pathobiology major Jamar Brown said. “It’s unfortunate that all I can say is ‘I hope’ because I want to do the little that I can by going out to vote.” 

Fifth-semester journalism major Daniel Drainville said he would also disagree with the decision to repeal DACA. 

“I think repealing [DACA] would be disgraceful,” Drainville said.  

Not all students at UConn would mourn DACA’s demise in the event of a Supreme Court ruling against it, however. 

“Personally, I’m a registered Republican, and I think we spend way too much money supporting illegal immigrants,” fifth-semester finance major Chris Munzer said. “I think there’s a better way to do it, where we can prevent illegal immigrants from coming in in the first place so this isn’t a huge problem in the future.” 

When asked what should happen to the estimated 825,000 current DACA recipients should the legislation be repealed, opinion was again split.  

“I think there should be some kind of thought-out, systematic way to get them out of the country, not just crazily running into everyone’s homes and taking them,” Munzer said.  

Brown said he believes it’s important for people to “take action” in support of DACA. 

“I don’t know how much time is going to pass by before anything actually gets put into action, but I think leading up to that is when it’s crucial for people to get involved and become active in the movement,” Brown said. 


Nick Smith is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at nicholas.h.smith@uconn.edu.

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