Dipping his toe — and maybe his foot and a fair bit of his ankle — into a legal matter with heavy political overtones, University of Texas System Chancellor said Tuesday that he was “pleased” to see the U.S. Supreme Court keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in place for now.
“If you are a DACA recipient,” McRaven said in an online letter to students at the system’s 14 campuses, “your time on one of our 14 campuses should be marked by your hard work, determination and enlightenment — not by anxiety about your future. I, along with UT institution presidents, strongly believe in the benefits of DACA and encourage Congress to act quickly to continue the program and create a pathway for you to fulfill what I trust is your dream, to become a citizen of our great nation.”
The DACA program, which President Barack Obama established in 2012, gives young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, a chance to attend college and work legally in the United States. Texas has roughly 25,000 undocumented students, and Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes has estimated that about 80 percent, or 20,000, fall into the DACA category.
McRaven’s stance puts him at odds with the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security, which sought to fast-track its appeal of a federal court injunction against the administration’s plans to rescind DACA.
“The Supreme Court’s decision means the DACA policy will continue until the lawsuit ends, Congress acts, or the President alters his earlier decision,” McRaven wrote.
This isn’t the first time the chancellor has challenged President Donald Trump. A year ago, McRaven said Trump’s description of the news media as “the enemy of the American people” must be challenged and “this sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”
As for the latest development, McRaven told students, “Know this: as Congress and the courts continue to consider this issue, the UT System will always follow the law, but rest assured that our campuses will remain places where you can safely live and study.”