Editor’s note: Admitted’s op-ed columns offer NACAC members the opportunity to share their take on the day’s news and events. The views and opinions expressed in Member View columns are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the association.
Throughout his tenure as president, Barack Obama frequently quoted Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous line, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” In 2012, the Obama administration implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which temporarily allowed qualified undocumented immigrants to the United States, who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. Additionally, DACA allowed some of these students access to in-state tuition.
DACA’s establishment was controversial, but the path toward DACA was paved decades before. In fact, the implementation of DACA coincided with the 30th anniversary of Plyler v. Doe, a 1982 Supreme Court decision that barred K-12 public schools from charging undocumented students tuition. In may have taken 30 years, but undocumented students in the United States had increased opportunities for not just primary and secondary education, but higher education as well. DACA was, essentially, part of the long arc bending toward justice.