SCOTUS Rules on DACA Decision

University of San Francisco Master in Migration Studies Program Applauds US Supreme Court DACA Decision

–Press Release–

University of San Francisco Master in Migration Studies Program Applauds US Supreme Court DACA Decision

For now, the Court’s Decision Recognizes the Benefits that Hundreds of Thousands of DACA Recipients Provide to Communities Throughout the Country

The faculty and staff of the Master in Migration Studies at the University of San Francisco applauds today’s Supreme Court decision striking down the Trump administration’s decision to terminate DACA. In DHS v. Regents of the University of California, a 5-4 decision of the court ruled that the Trump administration’s decision to terminate DACA was not proper. The decision honors the lives of almost 800,000 DACA recipients across the nation and thousands of students on university campus including many at USF. We are grateful for the views expressed in the concurring decision of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who recognized the social and economic contributions that DACA recipients make to our communities. However, the language of other justices in the complex decision leaves the door open to another attempt by President Trump to end DACA. Therefore, we must do all that we can to resist further action by President Trump and urge Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform as soon as possible.

DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – is a policy instituted by President Obama in 2012 for young, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and completed high school or served in the military. Under the program, DACA recipients received protection from deportation and permission to work.

According to Professor Karina Hodoyan, the Program Director, “The decision is a blessing and goes to the heart of who we are as a diverse community. The MiMS program and the broader university benefit enormously from the perspectives and intellectual brilliance of DACA students.”

Professor Lois Lorentzen (Theology and Religious Studies), the founder of the MiMS program adds, “We are committed to advocating on behalf of DACA recipients and their families. While we are thankful for this reprieve, we will not stand by quietly and allow our students and friends to be forced into the shadows by any further negative action by the Trump administration.”

Professor Kathleen Coll (Politics) says: “Now Congress must act to enact comprehensive immigration reform, including the DREAM Act, to correct the further enforcement actions visited upon other noncitizens by the Trump administration.”

Professor Evelyn Rodriguez (Sociology) adds: “This decision affects more than the lives of DACA recipients and their families. The decision affects the well-being of all of us. DACA recipients are integral to the fabric of our communities, and we must stand by them for the sake of our humanity. Their stories are inspirational and very much a part of the American dream.

Professor Marco Jacquemet (Communication and Culture) says: “I see the fight over DACA as part of the ongoing struggle for migrants’ rights and it should stand as a reminder that no human is illegal.”

Professor Bill Hing (Law) adds: “The Supreme Court’s decision sends a positive message to hard-working, decent members of our community. However, we must now wait to see how the Trump administration reacts. In the meantime, I urge DACA recipients to apply for extensions and seek review of their individual circumstances to see if other avenues to immigrate are available.”

Dr. Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, USF Vice Provost & Chief Diversity Officer, adds: “As a daughter of people who escaped the rural Jim Crow South during the Great Migration, I understand the sacrifice families make to give their children the best life possible. The families of our DACA recipients are no different. Leaders must do all we can to help the students finish what they started.” 

The Master of Arts in Migration Studies is a two-year, interdisciplinary program that is in its fourth year. The program consists of five core courses, four special topics courses, and four research seminars. Summer fieldwork and immersion trips are available, including opportunities offered worldwide by the more than 200 Jesuit universities and Jesuit-affiliated institutes and social service agencies. Students are given the option to study at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City (classes are conducted in English) during the second semester, but an identical curriculum is offered at USF. Students who study in Mexico City return to USF for their second year.

Other talking points:


  • The average DACA recipient is now 28 years old. [Note: article below says average age is 25] Many have started families: 254,000 U.S.-born children have at least one parent who holds DACA. In total, 1.5 million people live with a DACA recipient.
  • DACA recipients and their households pay $5.6 billion in federal taxes, and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes, each year. That money comes on top of the contributions that DACA recipients make to the health of the Social Security and Medicare funds through their payroll tax contributions. After taxes, DACA recipients and their households have a combined $24 billion in spending power to put back into their communities.
  • DACA recipients own 56,000 homes, making an annual $566.9 million in mortgage payments. Other DACA recipients pay $2.3 billion in rental payments each year.
  • More than 250,000 U.S. citizens have a parent who is a DACA recipient. [So DACA’s end now also means deporting parents of children.]
  • California is home to more than 180,000 DACA recipients.
  • DACA recipients in California annually contribute $2 billion in federal taxes and almost $980 million in state and local taxes.
  • At a time when state budgets are deeply constrained by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this economic activity is critical to their continued functioning.


  • The average age of active DACA recipients is 25, with the majority of recipients – 83 percent- over the age of 21.
  • Many of them join the over 5 million mixed-status families, as parents of U.S.-born children. DACA families have settled in the U.S. over the years since the inception of the rule in 2012, becoming an integral part of our communities. Ending DACA means a ravaging of families and whole communities — a trauma so severe it is unconscionable.
  • This group of individuals is a force — persistent, bold, insightful, and very often, brave and remarkably optimistic about their futures in this country.
  • They are some of the most inspiring individuals I have encountered and come to know. They are, as Pulitzer Prize journalist Jose Antonio Vargas puts it, undocumented citizens. They hold the noblest values of our country in their heart and with great fortitude, they continue to contribute, struggle and thrive in our communities as they pursue their dreams.
  • Each has their own story that should be told, collectively embodying humanity, not unlike our own. Listening to their stories and talking with those who are undocumented, mirror the stories of migrants who came before them.
  • They have unique dreams that involve self-discovery, a meaningful education, and true connections with their family, their friends and the various communities in which they identify and are members. These dreams involve contributions to a better world in which they envision. 
  • They are acutely aware of the depth and levels of sacrifice their immigrant parents made to come here on their behalf, and the considerable burden they carry to reconcile those sacrifices and do whatever it takes to survive and succeed here.
  • A recent Gallup poll reveals that an overwhelming majority of Americans –83 percent – favor or strongly favor a proposal to allow DACA recipients a chance to become U.S citizens
  • They share visions and dreams of a magnificent, diverse, gracious and welcoming nation. 


  • About 80% of DACA recipients are from Mexico
  • 8.6% are from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
  • 3% of DACAs were born in Asia
    • 7,300 South Korea
    • 3,880 Philippines
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