Princeton University, one of its students, and Microsoft are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in court today that challenges the federal government’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., alleges that the termination of DACA violated the United States Constitution and federal law.
The Princeton University undergraduate bringing the legal challenge, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, has been a beneficiary of the DACA program, according to the suit, which argues that the termination of DACA severely harms her and other DACA-enrolled young people known as “Dreamers,” as well as the employers and educational institutions that rely on and benefit from their contributions.
The DACA program permitted undocumented students who arrived in the United States as children to obtain protection from deportation, allowing them to continue their studies or work. To demonstrate their eligibility for the program, Dreamers were required to provide the government with detailed and highly sensitive personal information, pay a significant fee, and submit to a rigorous background check.
The lawsuit claims that Princeton “will suffer the loss of critical members of its community” if DACA is not reinstated. According to the lawsuit, Princeton University says DACA students “are among the most accomplished and respected students studying at the University,” they study a diverse array of fields, and they have earned numerous academic honors, awards, and fellowships. The students serve as mentors and peer advisers, as class representatives in student government, and as community organizers and campus leaders. Their presence on the campus helps fulfill Princeton’s educational mission, which includes diversity and inclusion.
Microsoft and its subsidiary, LinkedIn, currently employ at least 45 DACA recipients, according to the lawsuit. Dreamers “serve in critical roles,” including as software engineers, financial analysts, inventory control experts, and in core technical and operations positions and other specialized functions and internships. The company has made significant investments in recruiting, retaining and developing employees who are Dreamers, and according to the lawsuit, it has “significant interests in retaining the Dreamers it employs, and in reaping the benefits of their talent over time. It has conducted its business operations on the understanding that these individuals would continue to be eligible to work at the company.”
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that the government’s actions violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, including the guarantee of equal protection under the law, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint asks for a declaration that the DACA program is lawful and constitutional, and for an injunction that stops the administration from terminating DACA and prevents the government from using the information provided by Dreamers against them, or for purposes of immigration enforcement.
“As one of the nation’s leading private universities, Princeton joins the many voices — individuals, states, institutions of higher learning, organizations of all kinds — in seeking to remedy the injustice done to the nation’s Dreamers, who only seek the opportunity that America has afforded so many others before them,” said Princeton University General Counsel Ramona Romero in a statement on the lawsuit.
On Nov. 1, Princeton University joined 18 other colleges and universities in submitting a friend-of-the-court brief in U.S. District Court in San Francisco in related cases challenging the federal government’s termination of DACA.
Microsoft has been a proponent for a lasting solution to protect DACA beneficiaries, joining others in urging Congress to quickly pass bipartisan legislation. The company has helped to build business sector support for DACA relief and established the Coalition for the American Dream. On Nov. 1, Microsoft and more than 100 companies, including Facebook, Chobani, Levi Strauss & Co., IBM Corporation, and Verizon Communications, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco in five cases challenging the termination of DACA.
“The 45 Dreamers employed by Microsoft today are making countless contributions in our company and community,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith. “They have grown up in the United States, attended our schools, paid taxes, bought houses and started families. They also completed the government’s rigorous DACA application process before they could obtain work authorization to join our company. It’s critical that we don’t lose their tremendous talents.”