Duke students advocate to protect Dreamers

letters to the editor

On Sept. 13, Texas-based U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program unlawful, claiming the efforts by the Biden administration to codify this policy into federal law did not resolve the issues he cited as the basis for a similar ruling in 2021. Define America stands against this decision and the harm it causes to the undocumented and DACA community on our campus, in Durham and throughout the nation. 

DACA — a program created by the Obama administration in 2012 — allows undocumented youth to obtain work authorization and protection from deportation given they meet certain stipulations. Recipients — also known as Dreamers — apply for DACA renewal every two years, a process that involves a timeline of anywhere from three to 18 months and a fee of almost $500. As of the beginning of 2023, there are approximately 580,000 active Dreamers in the U.S. who originate from over 100 countries — predominantly Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and South Korea. The new ruling allows current recipients to renew their applications but does not process new ones. It is expected that the Biden administration will appeal Judge Hanan’s ruling and the case will go to the Supreme Court in the coming year. 

Unless congressional action is taken, hundreds of thousands of individuals risk being deported from the only country they call home. We urge our congressional leaders to provide a pathway to citizenship and promote a nation where compassion prevails over partisanship. DACA gives recipients the opportunity to pursue a better life, allowing them to prosper and thrive in the country they call home. Dreamers deserve to be protected. 

In the face of adversity, Define America — an organization that advocates for the voices of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers at Duke, Durham and beyond — remains unwavering in its commitment to justice for Dreamers and the undocumented community. In the heart of Duke, Durham and across the nation, we can be a beacon of hope for change. Dreamers deserve not just a chance, but a promise that they too can achieve their dreams. 

Additional resources for students and community members: 


Define America 

Asian Student Association

Black Student Alliance 


Duke Dems 

Duke Diya

Duke Ethiopian/Eritrean Transnational Student Association

Duke KAjok 

Duke Student Government 

La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. 

Mexican American Student Alliance 

Mi Gente 

Native American/Indigenous Student Alliance 


Students of the Caribbean Association 

Zeta Mu Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc.


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