While Trump’s Stance on Deferred Action Is Unclear, Fate of Undocumented UC Students Remains in the Air

Attorney Amy Frances Barnett, left, advises a UC Davis student at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center at UC Davis. The student arrived in the United States unlawfully as an infant. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Maria Blanco did a double take when the Google alert popped up in her inbox late last week: President Trump had reversed his campaign pledge and decided to continue a federal program temporarily suspending deportations of young people who are in the country illegally.

The news thrilled Blanco, an attorney who heads the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center — the nation’s first and only university system to provide free legal aid to students without legal status and their families.

But her excitement was quashed within hours, when administration officials clarified that they still had made “no final determination” on the program — called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — leaving in question the fate of 750,000 young immigrants under its protection. An estimated 3,700 students without legal status attend UC campuses.

“It’s such a roller-coaster ride,” Blanco said Saturday. “We’re back to where we were, which is not knowing really what the fate of this program is. Everybody’s still in limbo.”

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