Education Rights for Undocumented Students Unaffected by Trump Cancelling DACA


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA is an Obama-era executive action that provides protections to undocumented immigrants that were brought into the U.S. when they were under age 16. The rationale behind DACA is that children cannot be held responsible for the actions of the adults that brought them into the U.S. and without some protections they could face dire circumstances.

DACA is being rescinded by the Trump administration. This decision could affect over 800,000 immigrants who are current recipients of DACA protections. The LA-Times reports that there are over 240,000 DACA recipients in California alone.

Rescinding DACA could also impact the lives of children born in this country whose parents are DACA recipients. Children born to DACA recipients in this country have citizenship, but their parents don’t. It is possible that a child could see his or her parents deported and face the choice (or in some cases have no choice) of staying alone or leaving the country with the parents.

The Trump administration argues that this program should not be implemented through executive action, but should be legislated. Rescinding DACA puts pressure on the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to address this issue.

Despite DACA being rescinded, the educational rights of undocumented children based on the Plyler v. Doe U.S. Supreme Court case remain in effect. This means that, among other things, during enrollment or at any other time, students and their parents should not be asked about their immigration status nor should they be required to provide a Social Security number.

The issue of the rights to public education for undocumented children has been a hot topic for a number of years, starting with the significant increase of unaccompanied children crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. about three years ago. For more resources on the education rights of undocumented children, read the blog on this topic here and the second article in the newsletter with resources on this topic here.

If you have any questions, or for more information about TransACT’s Parent Notices and other products, please contact us at 425.977.2100, Option 3 or email at

Dr. David Holbrook

About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I, Title III, Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransAct.