Message from Chancellor Regarding Supreme Court Opinions on DACA and LGBTQ Rights
June 18, 2020
Dear Rutgers University – Newark community members,
Today, the Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) attempt to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was “arbitrary and capricious,” and thus DACA must remain in place at this time. This is a major victory for fairness in the treatment of undocumented immigrants, especially “DACAmented” individuals, so many of whom effectively have never known any other home but the U.S.
The Supreme Court’s opinion is complex, as are the underlying issues regarding the administration of DACA and the legal requirements for operating programs like it, so interpretation of the opinion’s details likely will continue for some days. The court’s action does not secure the long-term future of DACAmented individuals, which will need continued attention and advocacy in the coming months. The Rutgers Immigrant Community Assistance Program (RICAP) will be reaching out to our undocumented students directly very soon to offer advice on how to follow up on today’s ruling, depending on their specific circumstances. But this unequivocally is a moment to celebrate the hard work of many thousands of people across the nation, starting right here at home with our courageous students, their families and communities, with devoted faculty and staff members who support our undocumented students in countless ways, and with local leaders of the movement to support undocumented immigrants—including many members of Rutgers Law School, Newark—who helped build the foundation on which national advocates were able to argue the case successfully.
We also celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling in Monday’s landmark opinion establishing that laws banning discrimination against employees based on their sex must be understood to include LGBTQ employees. Here too, we celebrate this moment joyously—again acknowledging the foundational role played by Rutgers Law School, Newark community members, especially Co-Dean David Lopez, who led the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in bringing the case at earlier stages. We join resolutely in widespread anticipation of the work yet to be done to assure that this ruling has ripple effects in establishing analogous rights across other domains, including education.
These two opinions from the Supreme Court this week are beacons of hope in the sea of anguish of the COVID-19 pandemic that has taken a terrible and disparate toll on so many in our communities and of the reckoning we face yet again right now with our nation’s history of systemic racism and brutality against black Americans—a history that painfully continues, reaching back to our nation’s founding in the theft of the land of Native Americans.
So, as we celebrate these victories for justice and fairness—appropriately enough on the eve of Juneteenth—let us use them to refuel our collective action to dismantle the architecture of discrimination, segregation, and racism that continues to divide our communities. Let us use these rulings to help build the momentum we need to make this moment the tipping point at which we reconstruct our communities and our nation instead with an architecture of justice and inclusion for all.
Rutgers University – Newark