UC President Janet Napolitano filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security Friday, alleging that President Donald Trump’s repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals violated the rights of people who benefit from the program.
The lawsuit challenges Trump’s repeal, saying it was an “unlawful decision” to remove a program that protects more that 800,000 students from deportation. The lawsuit calls Trump’s repeal “nothing more than unreasoned executive whim.”
“Neither I, nor the University of California, take the step of suing the federal government lightly, especially not the very agency that I led,” Napolitano said in a press release from the UC Office of the President. “It is imperative, however, that we stand up for these vital members of the UC community.”
The lawsuit makes three claims against Trump’s repeal:
- It was not supported by “reasoned decision making.”
- The repeal did not follow necessary procedure for a “decision of this magnitude.” For example, Napolitano said there was no notice and comment period.
- The repeal violates due process rights of members of the university, both students and staff, who benefit from DACA.
- The UC is the first university to file a lawsuit against the Trump presidency’s repeal of DACA, according to the press release.
During a press conference on Friday, Napolitano said she welcomed other universities to participate in a lawsuit that could have “national implications.”
Read the full lawsuit here:
When asked by a reporter if the state of California would support her action, she referenced a lawsuit filed against the Trump administration by a coalition of blue states, and said, “frankly, I don’t know why California is not participating that the other lawsuits that the states have filed.”
Lt. California Governor Gavin Newsom later released a statement in support of the UC Regent’s lawsuit, saying that Trump “arbitrarily and unlawfully manufactured a crisis” for undocumented California residents.
“I support this lawsuit on legal, moral, and economic grounds,” he said. “The U.C.’s DREAMers and its staff are integral to the academic and intellectual fabric of our campuses, and it is paramount that the University protects the future workforce and families of California.”
The Regents of the University of California and Napolitano filed the civil lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of the department.
Napolitano was secretary of the department from 2009 to 2013 before she took her position as president of the UC. She introduced the DACA program in 2012, which former President Barack Obama then signed into law with an executive order.
“On a personal basis, yes I have a keen interest in DACA,” Napolitano said. “But my greater interest lies with the young people whose futures are now being put in doubt.”
The firm Covington & Burling, LLP is providing pro bono support to the UC, according to a press release.
This story will be updated as we receive more information.