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The Law School hosts DACA-themed Town Hall, sends students to D.C. for SCOTUS arguments

November 13, 2019

On Friday, November 1, 2019, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School hosted a Town Hall for all members of the University as well as those of area schools to address the current state of DACA and Supreme Court oral arguments in three cases that could determine its fate.

On November 12, a trip largely organized by Kareli Lizarraga, Associate Director of Penn’s La Casa Latina, sent more than 40 students from the Law School and across campus and others including Professor Sarah Paoletti to Washington, D.C., to show their support for DACAmented individuals on the day of Supreme Court oral arguments regarding DACA. Paoletti founded and directs the Transnational Legal Clinic, the Law School’s international human rights and immigration clinic. The bus was co-sponsored by the Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) and Office of Inclusion & Engagement.

“The courts temporarily stayed the rescission of DACA status for those who already had DACA and the Supreme Court has now heard arguments on the legality of DACA and the legality of the attempted termination of DACA,” explains Paoletti. “It is important to remember, though, that DACA was never intended to be a permanent fix to our nation’s immigration system. Instead, it was designed as a temporary measure to provide security, access to higher education, and the right to work to the best and the brightest among us. Until Congress acts to provide a pathway to citizenship for those with DACA and others similarly situated,” Paoletti adds, “DACAmented students, their families, and the communities in which they live, study, and work will be confronted with the insecurity a temporary stay provides.”

Also during the Town Hall, Provost Wendell Pritchett offered opening remarks, and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon L’84 expressed her happiness about being back at the Law School. She spoke of her perspective regarding the current climate for Congressional action on DACA, describing the situation as more partisan than ever but also noting a concerted effort among some colleagues to find common and shared goals.

DACAmented University of Pennsylvania undergraduate Alejandra Cabrales presented a video, and other speakers included Erik Vargas, a Penn undergrad student and community activist who is DACAmented, and Amy Eusebio, who recently replaced Miriam Enriquez as the Director of Philadelphia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Scheduled speaker Parthiv Patel, who graduated from Drexel Law, had to cancel, though his importance and inspiration as the first DACAmented member of the Pennsylvania Bar was recognized during the event.

The Town Hall, intended to provide both inspiration and a call for action, was co-sponsored by the Transnational Legal Clinic, TPIC, Office of Inclusion & Engagement, LALSA, the Law School’s Immigrant Rights Project, Greenfield Intercultural Center, Penn for Immigrant Rights, La Casa Latina, Penn Women’s Center,  the Division of the Vice Provost of University Life (VPUL), Penn’s MAKUU Black Cultural Center, and Penn’s PAACH Pan-Asian American Community House.