Celebrating 10 Years of DACA While Awaiting Its Uncertain Future

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Managing Editor

Legal challenges to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program have been in flux since its implementation, leaving more than 800,000 participants in a precarious position.

During a breakout session of the 2022 NASFAA Virtual Conference, participants on Thursday were able to hear from a legal expert who covered the various challenges to DACA, past and present, as well as the current administration's efforts to preserve DACA through the rulemaking process.

Angela Adams, attorney and founder of Adams Immigration Law, LLC, provided financial aid administrators with a high-level analysis of the program and how it will continue to be influenced by changes made under the varying branches of government.

With a career in higher education and immigration law, Adams has helped provide resources for both the community and campuses looking to enable these students to pursue their higher education goals.

After providing a walkthrough of the legal foundation of DACA, Adams detailed how the program continues to face obstacles, as lawsuits continue to question its legality. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is seeking to promulgate a rule that would codify current practice around the program, but some advocates expressed concern that the proposed rule will be too cautious, and not extend to a large portion of people.

Much of the issues with the program stem from the fact that DACA needs a permanent solution that can only be implemented by the legislative branch, and that rulemaking through executive action can only go so far due to limited authority.

While the future of the program remains unclear due to the Supreme Court ruling that narrowly upheld the program, Adams urged the higher education community to prepare for a post-DACA future.

Some steps to protect DACA students include creating non-employment-based funding opportunities for participants, engaging in state efforts to ensure students are eligible for in-state tuition and financial aid, and having an advocacy plan if the courts issue a negative decision concerning the continuation of the program.

Adams provided attendees with a host of resources and information about financing college for DACA students and questions around the FAFSA, financial aid, and alternative funding sources.

The conversation then concluded with an extensive Q&A that delved into wide-ranging questions about the program, along with tangible steps that financial aid administrators can take to ensure that the DACA population is best able to work through varying application processes.

You can still register for the 2022 Virtual Conference through Friday, July 15. For the cost of just $250, everyone on your NASFAA roster can participate, and have access to session recordings for one year. Stay tuned for highlights from the conference this week!


Publication Date: 7/15/2022

Jennifer S | 7/15/2022 12:17:14 PM

This was a fantastic session!

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