Former DHS Secretary Napolitano Sues To Defend DACA, The Program She Wrote

(Creative Commons license/Gage Skidmore)

Janet Napolitano, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is suing to protect the program she helped establish: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

“The Trump administration’s plan to end the program is illegal, unconstitutional, and anathema to our national ethos. It also defies common sense,” Napolitano wrote yesterday in her article for NBC News.

Napolitano filed the suit on Sept. 8, along with the University Board of Regents on behalf of the university’s DACA students, against the DHS and Elaine Duke, the current acting secretary of the DHS in light of the departure of John Kelly, who’s now White House chief of staff.

By rescinding DACA, a valid executive order, Trump and his administration are violating the due process rights of the students of the University of California, Napolitano wrote.

During the announcement that informed some 800,000 beneficiaries of the DACA program that they will potentially be exposed to deportation, Jeff Sessions, attorney general of the United States, said DACA was an, “unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch.” However, no court has declared DACA as unconstitutional or illegal.

Napolitano also argues that rescinding DACA defies common sense. She states, “undocumented immigrants who have come out of the shadows to supply verified information about their personal lives — now fear being deported to countries they do not know and whose language they may not even speak.”

Napolitano presents the cases of two students, Lisbeth Nuñez and Yuriana Aguilar. Nuñez, born in Sinaloa, Mexico, arrived in the United States as a child and is now studying molecular and cell biology with an emphasis in neurobiology at UC Berkeley. Aguilar, who received her Ph.D. in quantitative and systems biology from UC Merced, is making valuable contributions to sudden cardiac death research.

Nuñez and Aguilar are only two of the 4,000 undocumented students who attend UC, a figure that excludes undocumented faculty and administration.

Napolitano plans on presenting her arguments in court in November, with a hearing expected in December.