DACA Ruling a Victory for African American Ivy League Professor

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Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor

Earlier this month a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot eliminate a popular Obama led initiative to protect young immigrants from being deported. The ruling was a major victory not only for people of color, but a win for Princeton University professor Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor.

Taylor teaches several courses on African American studies at the Ivy League university and regularly lectures on issues related to race relations. Last May, the outspoken New Jersey based African American educator and author received death threats and was forced to cancel upcoming lectures after she accused President Donald Trump of being a racist and sexist during a speech at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. At the time, Yamahtta Taylor said, “The President of the United States, the most powerful politician in the world is a racist, sexist megalomaniac. It is not a benign observation but has meant tragic consequences for many people in this country.”

However, shortly after a three-minute video snippet of Taylor’s speech went viral on YouTube and other social media, she received several hate e-mails and death threats, according to multiple reports.

Throughout the presidential campaign and since taking office in 2017, the Trump administration has vowed to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which has insulated more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants who had been brought to America as children. Princeton University, among others had sued to stop the end of the DACA program on the grounds that the university would lose effective and critical members of its student body and administration, among other things.

In a press statement shortly after the federal court ruling, Princeton University Christopher Eisgruber said he was “very pleased that the court reaffirmed its ruling that the government’s termination of the DACA program was unlawful and must be set aside. As the court noted, it sees no reason to change its earlier determination that DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious.”

DACA has provided work permits, exclusion from deportation and the ability to pursue higher education to more than 820,000 recipients, according to recent statistics from the Center for American Progress (CAP)—an advocacy and immigration policy think tank based in Washington DC. “It’s time for opponents of DACA to end their threats, recognize that these young immigrants are protected from deportation and can remain a part of their communities,” said Laura Munoz Lopez, a special assistant for the organization.

Lastly, while the recent DACA ruling enables recipients to remain protected for the time being, Yamahtta Taylor said she will continue to speak out against the policies of the current Trump administration. “Not since the presidency of Woodrow Wilson since the early 20th century has a presidential administration so brazenly accepted the mantle of white supremacy,” she said.