NYU Steinhardt News

Metro Center Official Statement on White House Decision to Discontinue Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

September 7, 2017 - The great American poet Langston Hughes famously asked: “What happens to a dream deferred?” Following his question were a series of other questions, perhaps more ominous than the first, about the perils of letting dreams die or, worse, subjecting them to the murder of imagination. On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acting upon a directive from the U.S. president, announced that the administration would repeal the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, in some ways literally orchestrating a plan of hope’s genocide, the murder of the dreams of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers living within our national borders.

The DACA program established by the Obama administration in June 2012 allows certain Americans who happen to be undocumented and who entered the U.S. as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit, providing access to an untargeted and real American life. As of 2017, more than 800,000 Americans—mostly children referred to as “Dreamers” (after the DREAM Act)—were enrolled in the program. The repeal of DACA stands as an aggressive act of violence hostile not only to these Dreamers but also to the American Dream.

In response to the announced plan to repeal DACA, the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools (NYU Metro Center), thus, firmly stands with Dreamers and other allies of human decency in fundamentally repudiating the administration’s plans. The Dreamers have broken no laws; they have merely come petitioning our government for laws to protect them from the shadows of civil uncertainty, to provide sanctuary from the looming threats of exogenous fugitivity, and to gain legitimate opportunities to continue to contribute meaningfully to the only national home many of them have ever known—ironically, a home historically built by immigrants.

In wiping away the dreams of hundreds of thousands of Americans without cause or provocation, the repeal of DACA can only be viewed as cruel and obscene assault, as it targets the most vulnerable among us. NYU Metro Center, an organization that stands for equity in the pursuit of education and radical transformation of spaces hostile to defenseless children, reaffirms its commitment to the Dreamers. This historical moment is not just about the children denied borders, however. It is about the seditious practice of deferring for vulnerable children the hope to which we all cling in our pursuits for life, liberty, and unhindered happiness.

What happens to a dream deferred? NYU Metro Center calls upon our sister institutions in higher education and others to join us in actively and tirelessly advocating for the legal protection of the Dreamers before their dreams dry up like raisin in the sun.   

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ABOUT NYU METRO CENTER: NYU Metro Center promotes equity and opportunity in education through engaged sciences—research, program evaluation, policy analysis, and professional assistance to educational, governmental, and community agencies serving vulnerable communities and populations. Metro Center is a nationally and internationally renowned for its work on educational equity and school improvement, bringing together scholars, educators, and innovators from diverse backgrounds to collaborate on a range of projects to strengthen and improve access, opportunity, and educational quality across varied settings, but particularly in striving communities.