University Statements

Duke University’s goal is to provide access, inclusion, and support to all of our students and their diverse backgrounds and needs. We encourage you to read more about how this support applies to undocumented and DACA students in this message from former Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead, in addition to the university statements below. 


Duke, 18 other schools file brief in support of DACA
October 8, 2019

Duke and 18 other colleges and universities filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in the Supreme Court Oct. 4 to halt a Trump administration proposal to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA is an immigration policy launched in 2012 by the Obama administration calling for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children. It protects covered students against near-term deportation, allowing them to work lawfully and travel abroad.

The Oct. 4 brief was filed in support of the respondents in the case, which include the Regents of the University of California and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, among others. In 2017, the Trump administration announced its plan to phase out the DACA program, but several U.S. courts have halted the action.

Other schools joining the amicus brief are Brown University, the California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Emory University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis and Yale University.

Duke has previously filed two briefs in support of continuing the DACA program.


Duke Joins Universities in Supporting Princeton's Legal Challenge to DACA Program Rescission
December 20, 2017

Duke has joined 17 other leading higher education institutions in an amicus brief supporting Princeton University and other defendants challenging the Trump Administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (“DACA”) program.

Filed this past Friday, the brief presents evidence of the value of the students enrolled at the universities under the DACA program, and the harm they and the country as a whole would face from the ending of the program.  The brief was filed in the case of Princeton, Microsoft Corp. and Maria De la Cruz Perales Sanchez against the US Department of Homeland Security and department secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

The case will be heard in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, and is one of a series of cases where universities have made legal challenges to Trump administration immigration policies.

Duke and the other universities state that enrolling talented DACA students are at the core of their educational, research and service missions. It quotes from the leaders of Harvard, Cornell, Caltech and other universities about the harm that will come to the institutions and the nation if these students’ educational aspirations are ended by the policy.

“[L]ike their peers,” the DACA students on amici’s campuses “are extraordinarily talented young people who . . . aspire to be leaders in public service, science, business, medicine, and the arts. They embody the drive and determination that has made the United States the most prosperous and innovative country in the world.”

The full text of the brief can be found here.


Duke Joins Amicus Brief Challenging White House Rules on DACA Students
November 3, 2017

Duke is one of 19 leading research universities who have signed on to an amici brief supporting plaintiffs challenging President Trump’s new rules covering the young people participating in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program.

The case combines actions filed by the University of California system, the states of California, Maryland and Minnesota, the city of San Jose and a half-dozen students affected by the new DACA rules. It will be heard in US District Court in the Northern District of California.

The 19 universities all have DACA students enrolled. The brief provides short bios for some of the students and notes the obstacles they have overcome to make it to college and the contributions they are making both to their communities and to the university.

“The DACA students at amici institutions were selected because they are outstanding students,” the brief states. “Like their classmates, these young people were valedictorians, student government leaders, varsity athletes, inventors, academic award winners, accomplished artists, and role models for younger children in their communities. And like many of their classmates, they are the pride of the neighborhoods in which they grew up—‘local kids who made good.’


President Vincent E. Price Statement Regarding DACA
September 6, 2017

In light of the decision to end DACA, Duke University restates its firm commitment to protecting the right of all students to learn and discover here, regardless of their background or immigration status. These talented young men and women clearly deserve the opportunity to be members of the Duke community, which is enriched and strengthened by their contributions.

Duke has taken, and will continue to take, steps to support members of the community who may be affected, including: providing resources and guidance to students and employees, and making referrals to legal aid when necessary; maintaining confidentiality of student and employee records to the fullest extent of the law; continuing to meet the full demonstrated financial need for undocumented students; and strongly advocating for a long-term resolution through the DREAM Act and similar efforts. 

Our core values compel us to protect the rights of students and employees who embody what James B. Duke called “character, determination and an ambition for life.”


Duke University Letter in Support of DACA
August 30, 2017

Duke University President Vincent E. Price sent the following letter to President Donald Trump today regarding proposed changes in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

Mr. President,

As President of Duke University, home to over 14,000 students and 37,000 employees representing a great diversity of backgrounds, I urge you not to repeal or otherwise undermine the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

At Duke, all of our students, including those who aren’t citizens, are invaluable to the teaching we do in the classroom, the research we do in the lab, and the discoveries we make at the medical center. That is why Duke strives to be a community defined by who you are and what perspective you bring to campus rather than where you call home or how you got here.

As we work to expand access to higher education – a goal that I know your administration shares – we are firmly committed to protecting the right of all of our students to contribute to this community of discovery and learning. Ending DACA protections threatens to undermine this commitment for the many young people who have worked very hard to be here and have so much to offer to the common good.

I strongly urge you not to end this program.


Vincent Price
Duke University