BRUNSWICK

Bowdoin College has joined 50 other institutions in supporting a lawsuit to challenge President Donald Trump’s order to end protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children 16 years old or younger.

Trump issued an executive order in September to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The program allowed for relief from deportation for certain individuals for a period two years, which could be renewed, and also allowed for work authorization, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

University of California President Janet Napolitano filed a lawsuit that’s one of the several high-profile legal challenges to Trump’s decision, according to the Associated Press.

Napolitano helped create the program in 2012 as Homeland Security secretary under President Barack Obama. The 10 schools in the UC system have about 4,000 students without legal permission to stay in the U.S.

The amicus brief, which is a signal of support for the plaintiffs, rather than making the college a party to the case, was signed by large public universities, private research universities and liberal arts colleges, as well as community colleges, spanning the political spectrum, states the brief by attorney Brian Hauck.

Colby College is included in the brief, which was filed in Federal court Nov. 1 and provided to The Times Record by Scott Hood, senior vice president of communications for Bowdoin.

The institutions would be harmed by the elimination of the program, the brief argues.

The institutions that joined the brief state they have seen firsthand the effects of deferred action for childhood arrivals on their campuses, and the DACA program has facilitated the pursuit of higher education by undocumented youth in unprecedented numbers. Those students have made significant contributions to the institutions with their energy and academic excellence, the brief states.

An estimated 350,000 of the country’s nearly 800,000 DACA recipients are currently enrolled in school, most at colleges or universities, according to a 46-state survey this year by the advocacy group Center for American Progress. Under the program, they were protected from deportation and allowed to legally work in the United States with two-year permits, according to the Associated Press.

Under the Trump administration plan, those already enrolled in DACA remain covered until their two-year permits expire. If their permits expire before March 5, 2018, they can renew them for another two years as long as they applied by Oct. 5. But the program isn’t accepting new applications, said the AP.

Times Record reporter Juliette Laaka and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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