U.S. District Courts' Recent Immigration-Related Rulings

To: Members of the University Community
From: Robert J. Zimmer, President, and Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Subject: U.S. District Courts’ Recent Immigration-Related Rulings
Date: December 9, 2020

We are writing to update you on two federal court rulings issued last week, which represent positive developments for the University’s international and undocumented populations.

The University of Chicago welcomes the December 4 ruling by a U.S. District Court in New York to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA ruling directs the Department of Homeland Security to begin accepting new applications for the program, continue accepting renewal applications, and reinstate two-year authorization periods for qualifying applicants, among other things. In addition, earlier in the week a U.S. District Court in California struck down some proposed changes to the H-1B visa program. The University had opposed the proposed changes, which would have negatively impacted both the University’s ability to hire and retain international employees on H-1B visas and our international graduates’ ability to work in the United States.

While both rulings remain subject to future legal challenges, the rulings are important steps in enabling international and undocumented members of the University community to continue with their studies and work in the United States. From its inception, this University has been a place where people from around the world contribute to shaping new ideas and knowledge. We are committed to assembling a community of talented individuals regardless of their backgrounds, financial circumstances, or national origins. We welcome and support members of the University community from all nations, including individuals with DACA or who are undocumented.

The University has many resources available to ensure that undocumented and DACA-eligible members of the University community can fully participate in University programs and activities. You can find more information about these resources, including Know Your Rights workshops, free immigration-related legal screenings, emergency financial assistance, and free individual and group counseling services, on this website dedicated to undocumented students. Support for international students and employees can be found on the Office of International Affairs website.

We remain committed to supporting all members of our community and we will work to ensure that individuals from diverse backgrounds can continue to benefit from, and contribute to, the University’s distinctive intellectual environment.