The DACA repeal and its impact on schools
On Sept. 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
As a result of the decision, individuals currently covered by DACA will begin to lose their protection and work authorization on March 6, 2018. This has raised questions for school districts about the impact on students and schools, and what actions school boards can or must take.

The DACA program began in 2012, when the United States began offering undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, and who met a series of eligibility requirements, work authorization and a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation. Nearly 800,000 people were granted approval under the DACA program.

In order to qualify for the program, individuals needed to be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, have arrived in the U.S. before they were 16 years old, have continuously resided in the U.S. since 2007, have virtually no criminal record, and be either currently enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a General Equivalency Diploma or be an honorably discharged military veteran.

According to the Pew Research Center, there are 222,795 DACA recipients in California, more than a quarter of the program’s total. Approximately one-third of all DACA recipients are enrolled in high school, one-fifth are enrolled in college, and one-fourth are enrolled in college and working. Approximately 5,000 teachers in California are DACA recipients.

The rescission of the DACA program has a significant impact on DACA-eligible students and other DACA recipients. The DACA program increased access to legal employment for many students and diminished the threat of deportation, creating greater encouragement for students to finish high school, attend college and attend workforce training programs. Additionally, the loss of staff could worsen the teacher shortage for some California districts.

Although ending the DACA program will have tremendous impact on many individuals, school districts should note that it does not change the requirement for schools to provide equal access to an education to all students, regardless of immigration status. In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plyler v. Doe [457 U.S. 202 (1982)] that under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, if a state provides a free public education to U.S. citizens, it cannot deny such an education to undocumented children. Schools owe equal access to education to all students regardless of immigration status — this remains true with or without the DACA program in place.

CSBA published a sample Board Resolution on the DACA program for school boards and county offices of education in 2017, calling upon Congress to work with President Trump to enact legislation prior to March 2018 that will continue the existing DACA program. CSBA also joined an amicus brief filed in University of California v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security and consolidated related cases, identifying the challenges the rescission of DACA may create for students, schools and governing boards in California. The amicus brief was filed on behalf of CSBA and multiple other associations and school districts on Nov. 1, 2017.

On Jan. 9, 2018, the District Court temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program, finding that plaintiffs had clearly demonstrated that DACA recipients were likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm without court action. The DACA program will remain in place while the legal challenge is ongoing, but as of this writing, the Justice Department is already appealing the court’s ruling, and the department says it will take the rare step of filing a petition asking the Supreme Court to intervene. Students and school districts continue to face uncertainty about the outcome of the appeals and the future of the DACA program.

Additional resources for school districts on the DACA repeal, including legal guidance, sample board resolutions and policies can be found on CSBA’s website at