Immigrant Justice Clinic students Michelle Villegas, Brianna Lozito, Katie Conway, and Courtney Cataudella with Professor Cori Alonso-Yoder.
Immigrant Justice Clinic students Michelle Villegas, Brianna Lozito, Katie Conway, and Courtney Cataudella, along with Professor Cori Alonso-Yoder helped organize the event.

DACA Teach-In Provides Update on Immigration Policy

Students are encouraged to get involved by volunteering with community organizations

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, American University Washington College of Law hosted a “Rapid Response DACA Teach-In,” symposium where our faculty experts addressed the Administration’s decision to cancel the DACA program. Professors Steve Wermiel, Amanda Frost, and Jeff Lubbers were joined by Professor Fernando Laguarda, director of the Program on Law and Government, and Lisa Curtis from the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project. The program was moderated by Professor Cori Alonso-Yoder, practitioner-in-residence with the Immigrant Justice Clinic.

The experts addressed the issue from all angles including lawsuits being filed, the potential for legislation to change immigration laws before the DACA protections are taken away, and the role of community organizations in helping DACA recipients.

The full webcast of the event is available here.

Michelle Villegas, from the Immigrant Justice Clinic, talked about how law students could get involved. These included volunteer opportunities with local organizations such as CASA de Maryland and Ayuda and Michelle also suggested externing with an organization that works with immigrant populations.

The Day-to-Day Impact of Cancelling DACA

Prior to the event, we asked Cori Alonso-Yoder, practitioner-in-residence with the Immigrant Justice Clinic, how the DACA announcement was impacting students at universities around the country.

“Normally this time of year is full of excitement for the millions of students heading back to school nationwide,” Alonso-Yoder said. “But for hundreds of thousands of students protected by DACA, the Administration’s decision to end that program fundamentally disrupts this back-to-school season, leaving students in uncertainty and chaos. Many of these young people entered early adulthood under the protection of DACA, obtaining work permits, Social Security numbers, drivers’ licenses, employment, and the other fundamental structures necessary to pursue their dreams. Now, without a significant shift in policy, many DACA recipients face an academic year in preparation for an unclear future.”

“The consequences of this announcement will reach far beyond individual DACA recipients,” she continued. “Educators, employers, friends, and families will also be affected by the disintegration of an entire generation of young immigrants forced to recede back into the shadows after five years of increasing involvement in communities across the D.C. metro area. Five years ago, a 15-year-old DACA recipient would have qualified to get a driver’s license, take the SAT, plan for college, get a summer job, complete high school, enter college, participate in work-study on campus, and prepare for graduation – all due to the protections afforded by the program. Now at age 20, that same individual may be preparing for completion of a degree in a profession she will ultimately be unauthorized to legally pursue.”  


MORE: DACA Resources & Tools

READ: 5 Key Takeaways from the Immigrant Justice Clinic's Session on DACA via The Eagle